The International Handel Recording
Deidamia (HWV 42)
Deidamia: Simone Kermes
Ulisse: Anna Bonitatibus
Achille: Anna Maria Panzarella
Nerea: Dominique Labelle
Fenice: Furio Zanasi
Licomede: Antonio Abete
IL COMPLESSO BAROCCO
Alan Curtis, direction
Virgin Veritas 5 45550 2
(Read the Review.)
The International Handel Recording Prize is awarded by a specially chosen
panel of respected scholars and journalists who each possess a special and
informed interest in Handel's music. This year we are delighted to
congratulate Alan Curtis, Il Complesso Barocco, and Virgin Classics upon the
award of first prize for its recording of Handel's final opera Deidamia.
We congratulate the excellent cast of singers, music director, and record
label for producing such a distinguished and exemplary recording of an
unfairly neglected opera. Despite being Handel's last Italian opera composed
for London before he turned his full attention to English oratorios, Deidamia shows that Handel was still at the peak of his powers. Alan
Curtis's recording reveals the subtlety in Handel's musical
characterisations of Ulisse (brilliantly sung by Anna Bonitatibus) and
Deidamia (a stunning and emotional performance by Simone Kermes). Il
Complesso Barocco demonstrate that the score has many beauties that were
almost entirely unfamiliar to even the most dedicated Handel lovers. Prior
to this recording there was only one inadequate version of Deidamia that did little more than fill a gap in the catalogue. Alan Curtis's
performance does much more than that. In terms of artistic
quality, performance standards, and packaging, this Virgin Classics
recording is one of the most consistently satisfying Handel opera recordings
We also wish to commend this year's runner-up.
We could not ignore the vibrant and affectionate performance of Handel's
Neapolitan serenata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo by Emmanuelle
Haïm and Le Concert d’Astrée (Virgin Classics 5455802). (Read
the review.) It came second to Alan Curtis's Deidamia by
only the narrowest margin, and in another year might have comfortably won
the first prize.
Christopher Hogwood's brilliant performance of Mozart's arrangement of Alexander's Feast with the Boston Handel & Haydn Society
(Arabesque Z6762-2) was also highly commended by the panel. (Read
What is The International Handel Recording Prize?
The annual International Handel Recording Prize is awarded to one distinctive
new recording of Handel's music. The winner is carefully selected from a
comprehensive list of all new recordings of Handel's music released during the
previous calendar. The winner must satisfy tough criteria: it needs to combine
fine interpretive quality with a penetrating or valuable insight into Handel's
genius. Thus this Prize is an indication of a disc's quality and its
contribution to Handelian knowledge.
The panel of judges constitutes respected Handel musicologists and
journalists who can discern those recordings of Handel's music that make
valuable contributions to the discography. The International Handel Recording
Prize has unparalleled integrity. Unlike such prizes awarded solely by scholars,
or only by critics, our panel comfortably blends those commonly opposed
perspectives. Furthermore, this is not a financial prize, but purely idealistic:
this prize is an indication of a genuinely special recording, and is designed to
encourage unique and supportive recognition from a cross-section of those who
care most about the music itself.
This Year's Panel of Judges:
Philippe Gelinaud (Handel scholar, journalist)
Brad Leissa (American Handel Society, founder gfhandel.org)
Michael Pacholke (Hallische Händel-Ausgabe;
Benedikt Poensgen (Göttingen Handel Festival; Göttinger
Stanley Sadie (council member of the Handel Institute; Emeritus
editor of New Grove Dictionary of Music; Gramophone critic)
David Vickers (Handel scholar; Gramophone critic;
Carlo Vitali (baroque music scholar; radio author; journalist)
The Candidate List
(in no particular order)
Simone Kermes (soprano), Anna Maria Panzarella (soprano), Dominique
Labelle (soprano), Anna Bonatatibus (mezzo-soprano), Antonio Abete
(bass), Furio Zanasi (bass); Il Complesso Barocco; Alan Curtis. Virgin
Marijana Mijanovic (mezzo-soprano);
Magdalena Kozená (soprano); Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano);
Charlotte Hellekant (alto); Bejun Mehta (countertenor); Alan Ewing
(bass); Orchestre et Choeurs des Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble; Marc Minkowski. DG Archiv.
Israel in Egypt (complete 1739 version)
Vasiljka Jezovsek (soprano); Dorothee Mields (soprano); Annette Markert
(alto); James Gilchrist (tenor); Christian Immler (bass); D'Arcy Bleiker
(bass); NDR-Chor; Dresdner Barockorchester; Hans-Christophe Rademann.
NDR Klassik Club.
Alison Smart (soprano); William Towers
(countertenor); Michael Hart-Davis (tenor); Gavin Carr (baritone); Saint
Michael’s Singers; English Symphony Orchestra; William Boughton. Nimbus.
Siri Karoline Thornhill (soprano); Martin Wölfel (countertenor); Jan Kobow (tenor); Kay Stiefermann
(bass); Knabenchoir Hannover; Barockorchester L’Arco; Jörg
Breiding. Ars Musici.
Vivica Genaux (mezzo-soprano), Miah Persson (soprano), Inga Kalna
(soprano), Lawrence Zazzo (countertenor), Christophe Dumaux
(countertenor), James Rutherford (bass), Dominique Visse (countertenor);
Freiburger Barockorchester; René Jacobs. Harmonia mundi.
Stephen Varcoe (bass), Michael Chance (countertenor), Nancy Argenta (soprano), Laurie Reviol
(soprano), Mark LeBrocq (tenor); Maulbronner
Kammerchor; Hannoversche Hofkapelle; Jürgen Budday. K&K.
Sophie Daneman (soprano), Daniel Taylor (countertenor); Juliette
Galstian (mezzo-soprano); Richard Croft (tenor); Nathan Berg (bass); Les
Arts Florissants; William Christie. Erato.
Aci, Galatea e Polifemo
Piau (soprano), Mingardo (alto). Le Concert d'Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm.
Acis & Galatea
Suzie LeBlanc (soprano), Mark Bleeke (tenor); Marc Molomot
(tenor); Nathaniel Watson (bass); Les Boréades, Eric Milnes.
La Maga Abbandonata
Kermes (soprano), Beaumont (alto). Il Complesso Barocco, Alan
Curtis. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi.
Nancy Argenta (soprano); Maria-Cristina Kiehr (soprano), Marcel Reijans
(tenor), Klaus Mertens (bass); Il Combattimento Consort; Willem de
Vriend; Challenge Classics.
My Personal Handel
Lynne Dawson (soprano). Lautten Compagney, Wolfgang Katschner. Berlin
Orchestral / Instrumental:
Concertos for the Harpsichord vol.1
Wolfgang Glüxam (harpsichord), Gradus ad Parnassum Wien, Hiro Kurosaki.
Handel in Dresden
Dresden manuscript arrangements of Il Pastor Fido overture (HWV
8a), Sonata in F (HWV 392), Radamisto overture (HWV 12), Sinfonia
from Saul, Op.3 no.1. Batzdorfer Hofkapelle. KammerTon.
for the Royal Fireworks, Water Music
Boston Baroque, Martin Pearlman. Telarc.
for the Royal Fireworks, Water Music
Le Concert Spirituel, Hervé Niquet. Glossa.
‘Sonatas in Several Parts by Mr Handel’
L'Assemblée des Honnestes Curieux. Zig-Zag Territoires.
Suites de Pieces pour le Clavecin 1720
Ludger Rémy. CPO.
Trio Sonatas Opus 2
Sonnerie (dir. Monica Huggett). Avie.
Hiro Kurosaki (violin), William Christie (harpsichord). Virgin Veritas
Alexander’s Feast / Ode to St. Cecilia (Mozart’s arrangement, sung in
Lynne Dawson (soprano); John Mark Ainsley (tenor); Alastair Miles
(bass); William Sharp (baritone); Handel & Haydn Society; Christopher
Endnote: A complete live
recording of Jephtha (conducted by Nicholas McGegan and featuring
John Mark Ainsley, Dominique Labelle, The English Concert, and Winchester
Cathedral Choir) was not eligible for consideration because it is only available
to members of the Göttinger Händel Gesellschaft (Göttingen Handel Society).
The International Handel Recording Prize was inspired by The American
Handel Society's Recording Prize. The AHS Recording Prize was awarded on an
annual basis between 1991-1998.
explicitly specified otherwise,
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Vickers and Matthew Gardner
August 30, 2020
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