This unassuming little release from Germany's Winter & Winter Music Edition comes with no explanatory material whatsoever, and the title is misleading; the music did originate in Italy, but the travelog aspect is unclear. Is it the young Handel's travels in Italy that are being represented? Perhaps; the program combines a pair of his creatively bubbly Italian-language cantatas, and one oboe concerto, with works by composers he certainly would have heard in Italy and who influenced him greatly: Arcangelo Corelli and Alessandro Scarlatti. If one wanted to represent the experiences of a young composer or music lover traveling around Italy in 1710 it could be done better. This said, the program offers a nice, quiet example of an evening of music that might have been heard in one of those Italian courts, with a variety of genres that fully exploit the small forces involved. At the center are the two cantatas, fine examples of his heated treatment of the theme of love. The larger of the two, Delirio Amoroso, HWV 99 (1707), brings out the best in Swedish soprano Susanne Rydén, who handles the combination of acrobatics and low-key chamber medium beautifully; some of her quiet high notes are worth the purchase price by themselves. This cantata is not well known, and its consistently eventful instrumental introduction is another highlight. Another creative force here is veteran Swiss oboist Katharina Suske, heard not only in the opening oboe concerto but also prominent in the other cantata Mi palpita il cor, HWV 132. The program is framed with instrumental works by Handel and Corelli, but where it goes beyond other Baroque recitals of this type is that the keyboardist also gets the chance to shine, in a muscular Scarlatti Toccata in D minor that fits nicely with the rest of the program. The sequence of pieces is interesting, and the playing, on historical instruments, has a nice relaxed feel. It's just not a "travelogue." The booklet offers the texts of the cantatas, nicely designed in Italian, German, and English, a tracklist, the names of the musicians, and little else.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Concerto No. 3 in G minor for oboe, strings and b.c., (HWV 287)|
|Mi palpita il cor, Cantata for soprano, oboe and b.c., (HWV 132)|
|Toccata in D minor for keyboard "d'ottava stesa"|
|Delirio Amoroso, Cantata for soprano and instruments (HWV 99)|
|Sonata No. 6 in A major for violin and b.c. (Op. 5)|