MAGAZINE

On recording Händel’s Concerti Grossi

Ottavio Dantone: i Concerti Grossi di Händel
There are moments in life that stay special and create magical situations.

It was now five months since the pandemic had turned the whole world upside down and suspended our professional and artistic activities. The recording of Händel’s Concerti Grossi had been planned long before Covid-19 burst into our lives, but it ended up being our first project after the pandemic-imposed hiatus, the spark of recovery that everyone had been anxiously waiting for.

In my opinion, these Concertos are a fundamental work in the history of musicand thoroughly represent Handel’s most authentic essence. All the skill and compositional liveliness that a musician can muster is to be found here. All the forms, styles and dances of the era are masterfully and elegantly displayed.

But what is truly enchanting is that, in the very absence of the spoken word, Händel manages to let the music speak as only he knew how.

So here was the ideal ground, the most propitious occasion to get together and make music together. From the first day of rehearsals, I sensed a special atmosphere, an inner joy that shone in everyone’s eyes. I felt a growing eagerness to be together, to speak the same musical language and to share the same emotions as a single organism, which is one of the most fascinating and prodigious moments in the life of us musicians. And so the days went by, intense and demanding. By the end, feelings of tiredness were overpowered by the satisfaction of having recreated so much beauty.

When the recording was over, I clearly felt I had experienced something that will stay in my mind and heart for the rest of my life.

Understanding how, from the rubble of a dramatic time such as the one that had preceded us and that would continue to afflict the world for so long, a flower with the intense fragrance of pleasure and wonder could bloom.

Ottavio Dantone
August 2022

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