George Frideric Handel
MARIAN CANTATAS & ARIAS
Anne Sofie Von Otter
Musica Antiqua Koln & Reinhard Goebel
This CD [D 105958] is an utter delight filled with musical pieces which celebrate the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Critics of Handel’s depth of faith might think otherwise in hearing how beautifully he composes his music to complement the message.
HAEC EST REGINA VIRGINUM [HWV 235]
Haec est Regina virginum que genuit Regem velut Rosa decora. Virgo Dei Genitrex per quam reperimus Deus et homine alma virgo intercede pro nobis.
Behold the Queen of Virgins who, like a beautiful Rose, brought forth the King! Virgin Mother of God, through whom we perceive God and man, Blessed Virgin, pray for us.
The next work was once attributed to Handel, but is now reckoned as that of Giovanni Battista Ferrandini, an Italian composer at the Munich court.
IL PLANTO DI MARIA [HWV 234]
A portion of this work has Mary singing these words:
“If I was made Mother of a God in order to see a God die, then forgive me, Eternal Father, Your favour is a great torment.”
Handel’s other works on the CD are AH! CHE TROPPO INEGUALI [HWV 230] and DONNA, CHE IN CIEL DI TANTA LUCE SPLENDI [HWV 233].
Mary comes across with real feeling and humanity. It must be said that her cooperation in the saving work is so exaulted that some modern critics might cringe. Note the following:
DONNA, CHE IN CIEL [HWV 233]
Lady, you who shine in such radiance in heaven and with your light make the world so bright, today is the joyful day on which you saved us from great peril; today you stayed the arm of your angered Son, already about to strike, and, the stern Judge restored by you to a loving Father, showed us how much weight a Mother wishes carry.