Francesco Corti – Handel: Winged Hands. The Eight Great Suites & Overtures (2022) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Francesco Corti – Handel: Winged Hands. The Eight Great Suites & Overtures (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 02:27:02 minutes | 3,16 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Arcana

After the album Bach, Little Books , harpsichordist Francesco Corti continues his collaboration with Arcana with a 2-CD recording entirely dedicated to George Frideric Handel. At the center of the project are the eight “Great” suites. These masterpieces were the composer’s first published set, and are a clear testimony to his virtuosity at the keyboard. Their characteristically diversified styles reflect not only the mélange of national traditions assimilated by the young composer, but also his phenomenal improvisatory talent. Moreover, the attraction of these pieces lies in their melodic and rhythmic affinity to the world of singing and orchestral writing, Händel’s strongest interests.

Arrangements of Handel’s operatic overtures and arias started circulating early in his career in England, and in his later years he was known to perform his overtures on the keyboard himself. Corti designs a program showcasing the composer’s brilliant treatment of the instrument, choosing to complement the “Great” Suites with a selection of transcriptions from Händel’s own hand and from his close musical circle.

In the autumn of 2020, Francesco Corti published a superb programme, including various works by Johann Sebastian Bach surrounded by pieces by Kuhnau, Telemann and Hasse. A delightful surprise! The publication of the second volume of his complete keyboard concertos by the Leipzig Cantor (with il Pomo d’Oro, Pentatone) a few months later proved one thing: this young Italian is, without doubt, one of the most accomplished and inventive musicians in the modern baroque scene. This time, Arcana are releasing the great Suites pour clavecin by Georg Friedrich Handel; more precisely the complete first volume of the eight Suites that Handel published in London in 1720. Corti alternates them with excerpts from operas, using keyboard transcriptions that were made during Handel’s lifetime.

The recording by the incredible Ken Yoshida is less bright than in the previous Arcana release, but it still fully immerses us into the instrument; this winning performance by the Italian harpsichordist is hypnotising. The transcriptions of Rodelinda (magnificent!), Il pastor fido, Rinaldo (William Babell’s highly ornate arrangement of Lascia ch’io pianga, which possesses an agogic freedom which is simply magic), Radamisto and Teseo, are the climax of this double album, dramatically laying bare the harpsichordist’s seemingly inexhaustible talent.

With his first eight Suites from 1720, Handel left behind hard evidence of his innate mastery on the piano, and Francesco Corti revels in it. These pieces are full of energy, momentum, and contrasts and the last two numbers of Suite No. 3 (Doubles – Presto) are exquisite! A while back, Pierre Hantaï approached some of these same works with synthesis and reflection. Francesco Corti, on the other hand, sees them more as an object of study, a writing experience, a game. It’s a musical firework display and a real game-changer! – Pierre-Yves Lascar

1-1. Francesco Corti – I. Prelude (02:21)
1-2. Francesco Corti – II. Allemande (04:35)
1-3. Francesco Corti – III. Courante (03:01)
1-4. Francesco Corti – IV. Gigue (02:52)
1-5. Francesco Corti – Rodelinda, HWV 19, Ouverture: [Largo] – Presto – Adagio (Arr. for Harpsichord) (03:31)
1-6. Francesco Corti – Rodelinda, HWV 19, Ouverture: Menuet (Arr. for Harpsichord) (02:07)
1-7. Francesco Corti – I. Adagio (03:01)
1-8. Francesco Corti – II. Allegro (02:36)
1-9. Francesco Corti – III. Adagio (01:44)
1-10. Francesco Corti – IV. Allegro (02:26)
1-11. Francesco Corti – [Adagio] – Allegro – Adagio (Arr. for Harpsichord) (04:13)
1-12. Francesco Corti – I. Prelude (Presto) (01:00)
1-13. Francesco Corti – II. Allegro (02:37)
1-14. Francesco Corti – III. Allemande (04:15)
1-15. Francesco Corti – IV. Courante (01:47)
1-16. Francesco Corti – V. Air (04:14)
1-17. Francesco Corti – VI. Doubles (04:41)
1-18. Francesco Corti – VII. Presto (04:54)
1-19. Francesco Corti – I. Allegro (03:22)
1-20. Francesco Corti – II. Allemande (02:30)
1-21. Francesco Corti – III. Courante (02:04)
1-22. Francesco Corti – IV. Sarabande (03:45)
1-23. Francesco Corti – V. Gigue (01:50)
2-24. Francesco Corti – First Set in F Major: Prelude (Presto) (00:52)
2-25. Francesco Corti – Rinaldo, HWV 7, Ouverture: Vivace – Allegro – Adagio (Arr. for Harpsichord by William Babell) (04:33)
2-26. Francesco Corti – Rinaldo, HWV 7, Ouverture: Giga (Presto) (Arr. for Harpsichord by William Babell) (01:10)
2-27. Francesco Corti – Rinaldo, HWV 7, Ouverture: Lascia ch’io pianga” (Adagio) (Arr. for Harpsichord by William Babell) (05:36)
2-28. Francesco Corti – I. Prelude (02:17)
2-29. Francesco Corti – II. Allemande (05:15)
2-30. Francesco Corti – III. Courante (01:40)
2-31. Francesco Corti – IV. Air et Doubles (04:35)
2-32. Francesco Corti – [Largo] – Allegro (Arr. for Harpsichord) (04:09)
2-33. Francesco Corti – I. Prelude (01:54)
2-34. Francesco Corti – II. Largo (02:04)
2-35. Francesco Corti – III. Allegro (02:31)
2-36. Francesco Corti – IV. Gigue (Presto) (02:31)
2-37. Francesco Corti – Teseo, HWV 9, Ouverture: [Largo] – Allegro – Lentement (Arr. for Harpsichord) (03:15)
2-38. Francesco Corti – Teseo, HWV 9, Ouverture: Allegro (Arr. for Harpsichord) (01:36)
2-39. Francesco Corti – I. Ouverture (Largo – Presto – Lentement) (04:45)
2-40. Francesco Corti – II. Andante (04:45)
2-41. Francesco Corti – III. Allegro (01:47)
2-42. Francesco Corti – IV. Sarabande (03:00)
2-43. Francesco Corti – V. Gigue (01:35)
2-44. Francesco Corti – VI. Passacaillle (03:22)
2-45. Francesco Corti – I. Prelude (Adagio) (02:43)
2-46. Francesco Corti – II. Allegro (03:13)
2-47. Francesco Corti – III. Allemande (04:03)
2-48. Francesco Corti – IV. Courante (01:39)
2-49. Francesco Corti – V. Gigue (02:24)