Handel As Orpheus: Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas
MIT Professor of Music Ellen Harris discusses Handel's chamber cantatas written from 1706-23, from a social point of view, exposing the exclusive and secret homosexual society in which they were created. The compositions were written when Handel lived in the homes of aristocratic patrons, first in Italy and then in Germany and England. Harris concentrates on the texts, including for the first time complete translations of all sixty seven cantatas, and discusses them in terms of their classical meanings, social context, and secret codes and private references.
Musical references on CD:
Veronique Gens, soprano, with Les Basses Reunies: "Haendel Cantates" includes three cantatas for women's voice: "Lucrezia," "Armida abbandonata," "Agrippina condotta a morire" (Virgin Classics 5452832);
Judith Nelson, soprano; David Thomas, bass, with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Nicholas McGegan, conductor: "Apollo e Dafne" (Harmonia mundi 905157)
Office of the Provost, MIT Libraries, MIT Press Bookstore
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