Fabio Bonizzoni’s attention on record to the music of Handel - which has, thus far, yielded seven discs devoted to the early Italian-texted cantatas - has just now had the good fortune to receive this year’s Stanley Sadie Handel Recording Prize for Apollo e Dafne, the final release in the present series for Glossa. This is the third time that Bonizzoni and his period-instrument ensemble La Risonanza have won this prestigious prize for their series of “Le Cantate Italiane di Handel” (previous winners were the first release, Le Cantate per il Cardinal Pamphili and the fifth, Clori, Tirsi e Fileno); three other recordings have also featured as runners-up.
In the opinion of the judges of this international award, “this captivating performance by La Risonanza forms a fittingly essential conclusion to Fabio Bonizzoni’s ambitious project to record all of Handel’s Italian-period cantate con stromenti...” The same panel of writers and scholars of Handel’s music go on to say of the vocal soloists of the recording that, “Thomas E. Bauer and Roberta Invernizzi are to be praised for their outstanding singing which is always aptly characterized and suavely stylish”. Furthermore, they add that “the playing of La Risonanza is gently dramatic and always beautifully detailed.”
Fabio Bonizzoni, the director and harpsichordist of La Risonanza commented that,“I am really happy to receive this third Stanley Sadie Handel Recording Prize not only because it is something which has not happened before, but because in giving the three awards to the first, the middle and the last volumes of the series, it somehow covers the complete span of these cantatas on Glossa. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the musicians, the singers, the musicologists and the technical staff who have participated in this wonderful achievement, as well as to the series’ many artistic and financial partners.”
Fabio Bonizzoni’s consummate handling of Italian or “Italianate” music from the Baroque has been receiving further praise in the press recently when - in making Serenate a Filli his CD of the Week in The Sunday Times - Hugh Canning averred that “like La Risonanza’s award-winning Handel series, this is irresistible.” Serenate a Filli is the first release from Bonizzoni in a new group of recordings devoted to the 18th century Italian Serenata and the director has chosen to open his new engagement with the music-loving public in music by Alessandro Scarlatti.
The newly-celebrated recording Apollo e Dafne also includes the cantatas Agrippina condotta a morire and Cuopre talvolta il cielo and was engineered by Adriaan Verstijnen and produced by Tini Mathot. The Prize is named after Stanley Sadie, the British scholar and music writer - he was the editor for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians - who died in March 2005. As a contributor for Gramophone magazine for forty years and a profoundly-thinking commentator on the development of the modern performance of Handel’s music, he had written there of Apollo e Dafne that “The cantata... is a substantial one, more than 40 minutes long, telling the tale of Daphne’s metamorphosis into a laurel to escape the rapacious Apollo; the music, among the finest from Handel’s early twenties, marvellously conveys Apollo’s eagerness, Daphne’s resistance, the chase and the profound grief that finally overcomes the repentant god, who resolves accordingly to use laurel branches to crown future heroes.”
All three of the Stanley Sadie Handel Recording Prize winners on Glossa have featured soprano Roberta Invernizzi and Glossa is issuing a specially-priced two disc Portrait album reprise of the Milanese soprano’s contributions to Fabio Bonizzoni’s engaging series (Invernizzi was present on no less than five of the seven releases).
Looking ahead, Fabio Bonizzoni has “recomposed” a complete, short “pastiche” opera which the French composer André Campra (and a firm believer in Italian music of the time, and of Francesco Cavalli in particular) might have written for Naples or Venice. Bonizzoni has made use of scènes and Italian arias drawn from L’Europe galante, Aréthuse, Les Muses and from Les Fêtes vénitiennes for his new programme. Due to be coming out this autumn this Italo-French confection will also involve Roberta Invernizzi as well as a rising star in today’s Baroque music performing firmament, the tenor Cyril Auvity, as well as bass Salvo Vitale (the latter took part in Vol. 3 of Bonizzoni’s Handel series). In the meantime, under the direction of Fabio Bonizzoni, La Risonanza has recently embarked on a period as “ensemble-in-residence” from 2011-13 at the Fondation Royaumont in France. Together they are investigating and performing the musical horizons of another Italian compositorial eminence Arcangelo Corelli. Fabio Bonizzoni adds that, “the residency in Royaumont will essentially allow me to continue a research project on the Roman music of the time of Handel. The focus is on Corelli, but as he was deeply involved in the Accademia Arcadia and in all Roman life, I will be able to continue working on the music which was composed and performed in one of the cities I love the most.” Which is good news for La Risonanza’s many admirers, including those for their performances of music by Handel!
by Mark Wiggins © 2011 MusiContact / Glossa Music