George Frideric Handel, Concerto grosso in D major Op. 6, No. 5, HWV 323
Alessandro Scarlatti, Bella madre de' fiori
George Frideric Handel, Apollo & Daphne, HWV 122
John Butt, director
Anna Dennis, soprano
Matthew Brook, baritone
Two tales of love — both tragedies in their own ways — are brought together in this coupling of baroque cantatas.
From a woman so lovestruck that she can only find solace in nature, as in Bella madre de’ fiori, to the tragic tale of Daphne, who tries and fails to resist Apollo’s advances and is transformed into a laurel tree, her branches watered forever by his tears.
These extraordinary tales of passion and penitence are rendered by Handel and Scarlatti in music of searing intensity, their rapturous obbligato writing by turns, playful, poignant and seductive.