The Handel Institute
The Handel Institute

The Stanley Sadie Handel Recording Prize 2009

Haendel: Opera Seria

Hyperion CDA67701/2

Parnasso in Festa (HWV 73)

Apollo: Diana Moore (mezzo-soprano)
Clio: Carolyn Sampson (soprano)
Orfeo: Lucy Crowe (soprano)
Calliope: Rebecca Outram (soprano)
Clori: Ruth Clegg (alto)
Euterpe: Diana Moore (mezzo-soprano)
Marte: Peter Harvey (bass)

The King’s Consort (on period instruments)
Matthew Halls (direction)

This year we are delighted to congratulate Matthew Halls, the King’s Consort and Hyperion Records upon the award of first prize for their magnificent world-premiere recording of the serenata Parnasso in festa. The panel was impressed that this unfairly ignored and dismissed work has at long last received international exposure and advocacy thanks to Hyperion’s courage to promote neglected repertoire. It emerges from this recording as an exciting, imaginative and enchanting masterpiece. Several of our judges praised that Matthew Halls has done a splendid job in using serious research to inform a delightful performance, at the helm of a revitalised King’s Consort. In particular, the performance has plenty of expertly judged contrast between excitement, tenderness and pathos, with a remarkable variety of colours and sonorities in the orchestral and choral contributions, and excellent singing from the soloists, in particular Lucy Crowe and Carolyn Sampson. This captivating performance of Parnasso in festa shows us an important new aspect of Handel’s vast output. We hope that its success encourages Matthew Halls and his musicians – now working under the new name of Retrospect Ensemble – to continue exploring baroque vocal music. We also congratulate The King’s Consort and Hyperion for yet another outstanding contribution to their Handel discography.

The panel of judges also congratulate this year’s close runner-up: Aminta e Fillide by La Risonanza, directed by Fabio Bonizzoni (Glossa). In any other year La Risonanza’s captivating performance of Handel’s early Roman cantata might have comfortably won 1st prize, and the panel gives a special commendation to La Risonanza’s lovingly prepared series of Handel’s Italian cantatas with instruments. We also highly commend three more recordings that figured very highly in this year’s voting. A painstakingly researched performance of the original Cannons version of Acis & Galatea, is superbly performed by the Dunedin Consort & Players, and beautifully paced by John Butt (Linn). The Sixteen, conducted by Harry Christophers, delivers a consistently fine account of Messiah (Coro) that far surpasses the group’s previous recording of the oratorio made in the late 1980s. Last, but not least, the vivid aria recital Furore shows Joyce DiDonato’s outstanding qualities as a dramatic and passionate Handel singer, and she is given excellent support from Christophe Rousset’s Les Talens Lyriques (Virgin). The panel hopes that all those nominated for this year’s prize will be encouraged to continue producing fresh insights into Handelian repertoire.

What is The Stanley Sadie Handel Prize?

It is an annual award given to one distinctive new recording of Handel’s music, chosen by a specially invited panel of respected scholars and journalists who each possess a special and informed interest in Handel’s music. One of the prize’s founder panel members was the scholar, author and critic Stanley Sadie, and in 2005 the prize was renamed in his memory (its original title was the International Handel Recording Prize). We hope that this prize is warmly accepted as an appropriate legacy of Stanley’s unusual ease at mingling enjoyable journalism and superb scholarship together. In some respects it was influenced by the now defunct American Handel Society Recording Prize (1991–8), but in 2002 an international panel of judges inaugurated a broader forum to nurture recognition to a new recording of Handel’s music of noteworthy quality. This year’s winner was chosen by judges from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, England and the U.S.A. The winner is carefully selected from a comprehensive list of all new recordings of Handel’s music released during the previous calendar year. 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 recording’s quality and the significance of its contribution to Handelian knowledge.


This Year's Panel of Judges:

Ivan A. Alexandre (Diapason and Le Nouvel Observateur – Paris)
Nicholas Anderson (Producer and writer, BBC Music Magazine – Taunton)
Sandra Bowdler (Opera critic – Perth, Australia)
Hugh Canning (The Sunday Times, International Record Review – London)
Colin Coleman (Librarian, Gerald Coke Handel Collection, The Foundling Museum – London)
Mikhail Fikhtengoltz (Handel scholar and Arts Administrator – Moscow)
Matthew Gardner (Handel scholar, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität –  Heidelberg)
Philippe Gelinaud (Handel scholar, Opéra Magazine – Paris)
Lindsay Kemp (Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, BBC Radio 3, Gramophone – London)
Tess Knighton (Editor of Early Music – Cambridge)
Benedikt Poensgen (Göttingen Händel-Festpiele – Göttingen)
Christopher Purvis (President, Handel House Museum – London)
Kimiko Shimoda (The Record Geijutsu – Kyoto)
David Vickers (Handel scholar, Gramophone, – Huddersfield)
Carlo Vitali (Musicologist, Amadeus, Opera Now, Musical America)

The Candidate List

(*denotes recordings nominated by the panel during the first round of voting)

Theatre Works:

Aci, Galatea e Polifemo
Contrasto Armonico; Marco Vitale; Brilliant Classics

*Acis and Galatea
The Dunedin Consort; John Butt; Linn

Al Ayre Espanol; Eduardo Lopez Banzo; Ambroisie

Junge Kantorei; Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra; Joachim Carlos Martini; Naxos

*Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno
Accademia Montis Regalis; Alessandro de Marchi; Hyperion

Israel in Egypt
Aradia Ensemble; Kevin Mallon; Naxos

Dresden Barockorchester; Kammerchor der Frauenkirche; Matthias Grünert; Carus

Collegium Carthusianum; Peter Neumann; MD&G

The Sixteen; Harry Christophers; Coro

Ode for St Cecilia’s Day
Coro della Radio Svizzera; I Barrochisti; Diego Fasolis; Arts

*Parnasso in festa
The King’s Consort; Matthew Halls; Hyperion

Riccardo primo
Kammerorchester Basel; Paul Goodwin; DHM

Junge Kantorei; Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra; Joachim Carlos Martini; Naxos

Il Complesso Barocco; Alan Curtis; DG Archiv

Sacred works:

*Dettingen Te Deum
Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge; The Academy of Ancient Music; Stephen Layton; Hyperion

Psalms and Anthems
Gli Scarlattisti; Capella Principale; Jochen M. Arnold; Carus

Vocal music and recitals:

*Furore (arias)
Joyce Di Donato (mezzo-soprano); Les Talens Lyriques; Christophe Rousset; Virgin

Le Cantate per il Cardinal Ottoboni
Raffaella Milanesi (soprano); Salvo Vitale (bass); La Risonanza; Fabio Bonizzoni; Glossa

*Aminta e Fillide (‘Le Cantate per il Marchese Ruspoli, Vol. 2’)
Nuria Rial (soprano); Maria Grazia Schiavo (soprano); La Risonanza; Fabio Bonizzoni; Glossa

Duetti amorosi (opera duets and arias)
Nuria Rial (soprano); Lawrence Zazzo (countertenor); Kammerorchester Basel; Laurence Cummings; DHM

‘English Cantatas’
Nicki Kennedy (soprano); The Brook Street Band; Avie

Handel in Italy
Emma Kirkby (soprano); London Baroque; BIS

*Neun deutsche Arien
Monika Mauch (soprano); L’Arpa Festante; Carus

Sento Brillar: Arias for Carestini
Vesselina Kasarova (mezzo-soprano); Il Complesso Barocco; Alan Curtis; RCA

Un momento di contento (arias for tenor)
Christoph Genz (tenor); Händelfestspielorchester Halle; David Timm; Coviello Classics

Orchestral / Instrumental:

Concerti Grossi, Opus 6
Arte dei Suonatori; Martin Gester; BIS

Concerti Grossi, Opus 6 (Nos. 7-12)
Boston Baroque; Martin Pearlman; Telarc

*Suites de Pieces pour le Clavecin 1720 & 1733
Michael Borgstede; Brilliant Classics

*Organ Concertos, Opus 4
The Academy of Ancient Music; Richard Egarr; Harmonia Mundi (USA)

*Organ Concertos, Opus 4
La Divina Armonia; Lorenzo Ghielmi (organ); Margaret Köll (harp); Luca Pianca (archlute); Passacaille

*Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks
L’Arte dell’Arco; Federico Guglielmo; CPO

*Water Music (+ Sinfonias HWV 339 and 347)
Concerto Köln; Berlin Classics

Special Category:

*Acis und Galatea (arr. Mendelssohn)
Festpiele-orchester Göttingen; NDR Chor; Nicholas McGegan; Carus


Il Complesso Barocco; Alan  Curtis; Dynamic

Zurich Opera House; William Christie; Arthaus

A live recording of Orlando (conducted by Nicholas McGegan and featuring the Festpiele-orchester Göttingen) 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.

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