George Frideric Handel was the epitome of a European composer in the Baroque era: born in Halle, he took up his first post in Hamburg and then spent four years in Italy, where he broadened his musical knowledge. Handel finally found his adopted home in London, where he enjoyed success first with Italian operas and later with English-language oratorios. Following La resurrezione in 2014, Emmanuelle Haïm now conducts the second oratorio from Handel’s Italian creative period: Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (The Triumph of Time and Truth), with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
The oratorio documents the dispute between beauty, pleasure, time and knowledge, who appear in person as allegorical figures. Even if, as the title suggests, time and truth ultimately win the dispute, it is pure – and timeless – beauty that triumphs musically. For example, the oratorio is the origin of one of Handel’s most poignant melodies: the composer later used the aria “Lascia la spina” in other works as well, such as in the opera Rinaldo under the title “Lascia ch’io pianga”. The violin solo in Beauty’s magnificent final song was probably played by the famous violin virtuoso and composer Arcangelo Corelli at the first performance in 1707. At a rehearsal, Handel, who was also inclined to theatrical displays in his own life, is said to have snatched the violin out of his colleague’s hand to demonstrate his stylistic ideas.
The international vocal quartet includes Franco Fagioli and Iestyn Davies, two of the most successful countertenors of our time, who will make their debuts with the Philharmoniker in this concert.