Handel’s unrivalled skill of writing great tunes – from the simplest utterance to show-stopping glories – sits at the heart of almost all of Handel’s dramatic works. Without the text, it could be claimed that any instrumental performance is a compromise too far. But how bereft we would be without the chance for instruments to imitate or replace the voice, to put our mark on a piece by exploring an expressive world of implication and beauty for its own sake?

What is considered a rarity or a ‘standard’ in Handel’s oeuvre depends on individual perspective but ‘Nel passar da un laccio all’altro’ is unquestionably both. Extracted from the pasticcio opera, Giove in Argo, the primary conceit is one of fear (of being ensnared) but – in parallel – the sighing of assuaging beauty gradually becomes irresistible. Physical danger and sensuality become a heady cocktail.

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Parts included:

  • Trumpets in C
  • Piano

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