Mark Padmore / Andrew Manze / The English Concert

As Steals the Morn: Handel Arias & Scenes for Tenor

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British tenor Mark Padmore brings together a collection of English and Italian arias from Handel oratorios and operas. Padmore, who performs works of many eras in a wide range of styles, has primarily settled into the kind of repertoire Peter Pears comfortably inhabited, but with a stronger emphasis on Baroque opera and oratorio. Padmore's voice resembles Pears' in some ways; it's a light instrument, and is capable of great agility. It has some of Pears' limitations, particularly a tendency toward tonal blandness and lack of variety in its colors, as well as a slight edge when pushed. Most importantly, though, Padmore does not have Pears' reedy quality or breathiness -- his voice is pure and more mellow than Pears'. Except for some lack of full support in its very lowest reaches, this repertoire vocally suits him well. He is capable of summoning up a high sense of drama, as he does so well in "Tu, spietato," from Tamerlano, but perhaps because his voice is not particularly colorful, he is less effective in the more subtle matters of phrasing, where a well-placed inflection can illuminate a character. His ornamentation in the da capo arias is consistently effective and gracefully executed. Padmore is most at ease and effective in the more lyrical arias, and in "Thus when the sun from's wat'ry bed," from Samson; "Waft her, angels," from Jephtha; and "Tune your harps," from Esther, he is genuinely magical. The concluding duet from L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato, with soprano Lucy Crowe is ravishingly limpid. Andrew Manze leads the English Concert in brisk and fluent accompaniments, and Harmonia Mundi's sound is exemplary throughout.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Alceste, incidental music, HWV 45
1 05:37 Amazon
Semele, oratorio, HWV 58
2 05:17 Amazon
Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, oratorio, HWV 46a
3 03:32 Amazon
Tamerlano, opera, HWV 18
4 06:08 Amazon
5 03:53 Amazon
6 06:06 Amazon
Samson, oratorio, HWV 57
7 04:38 Amazon
8 00:32 Amazon
9 03:18 Amazon
10 00:40 Amazon
11 05:32 Amazon
Rodelinda, regina de' Langobardi, opera, HWV 19
12 03:23 Amazon
13 05:15 Amazon
Esther, oratorio, HWV 50a
14 04:19 Amazon
Jephtha, oratorio, HWV 70
15 00:32 Amazon
16 05:59 Amazon
17 05:43 Amazon
L' Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (Pastoral Ode), oratorio, HWV 55
18 06:36 Amazon
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