Handel: Italian Cantatas Tra le Fiamme

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Ellen Hargis, soprano; Seattle Baroque Orchestra (debut recording), Ingrid Matthews & Byron Schenkman, directors; Margriet Tindemans, viola da gamba (WLBR 9604)In their debut recording, Seattle Baroque Orchestra deliver a program of Handel that paints a fascinating portrait of one of the most inventive and industrious composers of the baroque era. Included are four cantatas from Handel’s early years in Rome, one of the most fascinating eras of his life, plus instrumental pieces from a wide range of sources: a beautiful Overture in D which may be a true version of one of his Opus 3 Concerti Grossi; a Violin Concerto arranged from a trio sonata; a Chaconne from an Organ Concerto performed on harpsichord and strings (an alternative approved by Handel); and a Prelude for harpsichord.

Soprano Ellen Hargis will be familiar to many from her recordings with The King’s Noyse under David Douglas, as well as appearances and recordings with such diverse and renowned ensembles as The Harp Consort, Fretwork, Cambridge Bach Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, Theatre of Voices with Paul Hilliard, Newberry Consort, American Bach Soloists, Portland Baroque Orchestra and Freiburg Baroque orchestra. Continuo has called her a “living national musical treasure.”

Seattle Baroque Orchestra was founded by its co-directors Ingrid Matthews (violin) and harpsichordist Byron Schenkman. The new orchestra is notable for its polish (many members are seasoned veterans) and its pronounced verve, which may in some measure be attributed to its youthful directors.

A delightful debut!


  1. Overture in D Major
  2. Prelude in D Minor for harpsichord, Byron Schenkman, harpsichord
  3. Cantata Armida Abbandonata, Ellen Hargis, soprano
  4. Concerto for Violin & Strings in B-flat Major, Ingrid Matthews, violin
  5. Cantata Ah! che troppo e vero, Ms Hargis
  6. Chaconne in B-flat Major for harpsichord and strings, Mr Schenkman
  7. Cantata Tra le Fiamme Ms Hargis-Recitative and arioso Ombra mai fu from Xerxes, Ms Hargis.