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Handelian Pyrotechnics
George Frideric Händel

William Towers | Armonico Consort

Handelian Pyrotechnics

Price: € 19.95 13.97
Format: CD
Label: Signum Classics
UPC: 0635212065822
Catnr: SIGCD 658
Release date: 02 April 2021
old €19.95 new € 13.97
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19.95 13.97
old €19.95 new € 13.97
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Label
Signum Classics
UPC
0635212065822
Catalogue number
SIGCD 658
Release date
02 April 2021
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN

About the album

Armonico Consort return to disc on Signum with a collection of Handel arias, performed by leading counter-tenor William Towers. A noted soloist in both opera and oratorio, the programme is taken from roles which Towers has sung across his career in various productions across the globe.

Towers writes: “It is the life-affirming, live-giving aspect of Handel that I’m aiming to celebrate. So frequently his operas reveal their most devastatingly beautiful and uplifting music when life is at its darkest. Here the arias shine brightest, here we find Radamisto’s ‘Ombra cara’ and the boundlessly optimistic ‘Dopo l’orrore’, looking out beyond the darkest clouds to the faint glimmer of a dawning hope. This is the uncrushable, indomitable spirit that lies in all of us ... We just need to take the time to listen.”

Artist(s)

William Towers (countertenor)

William Towers read English at Cambridge University and was a postgraduate scholar at the Royal Academy of Music. He appeared extensively as a soloist in Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage and his performances in the complete Bach series have been issued on CD.   His opera engagements have included Medoro (Handel Orlando) and Farnace (Mozart Mitridate Re di Ponto) for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden; Oberon (Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream) for Teatro La Fenice Venice, Teatro Petruzzelli Bari, Teatro Municipale Valli Reggio Emilia, Staatsoper Hanover, for the Royal Opera at the Linbury, and for the Aldeburgh Festival; Apollo (Britten Death in Venice) for La Monnaie Brussels, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Luxembourg Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Prague State Opera, Aldeburgh Festival, Oper Frankfurt and the Bregenz Festival; Ottone (Handel Agrippina), Ruggiero (Vivaldi Orlando Furioso) and Egeo (Handel Teseo) for Frankfurt; Ottone (Handel Ottone) and Ozia (La Guiditta)...
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William Towers read English at Cambridge University and was a postgraduate scholar at the Royal Academy of Music. He appeared extensively as a soloist in Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage and his performances in the complete Bach series have been issued on CD.
His opera engagements have included Medoro (Handel Orlando) and Farnace (Mozart Mitridate Re di Ponto) for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden; Oberon (Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream) for Teatro La Fenice Venice, Teatro Petruzzelli Bari, Teatro Municipale Valli Reggio Emilia, Staatsoper Hanover, for the Royal Opera at the Linbury, and for the Aldeburgh Festival; Apollo (Britten Death in Venice) for La Monnaie Brussels, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Luxembourg Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Prague State Opera, Aldeburgh Festival, Oper Frankfurt and the Bregenz Festival; Ottone (Handel Agrippina), Ruggiero (Vivaldi Orlando Furioso) and Egeo (Handel Teseo) for Frankfurt; Ottone (Handel Ottone) and Ozia (La Guiditta) at the Casa da Musica Porto; Orfeo (Gluck Orfeo) in Monte-Carlo; Ottone (Monteverdi L’incoronazione di Poppea) for the Teatro Real Madrid and Frankfurt; Orlando (Handel Orlando) at the Goettingen Festival, at the Drottningholm Theatre and with the Philharmonia Baroque in San Francisco; Giunio (Porpora L’Agrippina) for the Barber Institute; Poro (Handel Poro) at the Goettingen Festival; Giulio Cesare (Handel Giulio Cesare) for Gothenburg Opera; Unulfo (Handel Rodelinda) for the Bolshoi Moscow; Marco Fabio (Caldara Lucio Papirio Dittatore) for Buxton International Festival; Radamisto (Handel Radamisto) for English Touring Opera; Cristiano Mago (Handel Rinaldo) for Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Lotario (Handel Lotario) for the London Handel Festival; and Eustazio (Handel Rinaldo) for Grange Park Opera.
Equally at home in contemporary work William’s roles include 5th Innocent in Harrison Birtwistle’s Minotaur for the Royal Opera Covent Garden, John Adams’s The Gospel According to the Other Mary for Theater Bonn, The Guest in the UK premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Luci mie traditrici, Bishop Baldwyn in Birtwistle’s Gawain, Der Leiermann in Benedict Mason’s Playing Away, Lance in the world premiere of Paul Frehner’s Sirius on Earth and Little James in Birtwistle’s The Last Supper. His oratorio and recital schedule has featured appearances in many major venues and festivals in the UK and abroad, including the Wigmore Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Barbican Hall, Royal Albert Hall, the Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg, Konzerthaus Vienna, Fundación Juan March Madrid, National Auditorium Madrid, Three Choirs Festival, Ravenna Festival, Flanders Early Music Festival, the Festivale de Musique Ancienne de Lyon and La Chaise Dieu. Recent concert performances include Handel’s Solomon in Estonia and Latvia, Handel’s Belshazzar with Nicholas McGegan in San Francisco, Bach’s Mass in B minor with Orquestra Simfonica De Les Illes Balears and Jonathan Cohen, Handel’s Messiah in Dresden with the MDR and with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Laurence Cummings, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Lars Vogt, Bach’s St John Passion with the BBCNOW and John Butt, Bach’s Easter Oratorio with the BBCNOW and Steven Devine, and the premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s Angel Fighter in the Leipzig Bach Festival.
Recent highlights have included William’s role debut as the Refugee in Jonathan Dove’s Flight for Pacific Opera, Victoria Canada, and reprising the role of include reprising the role of Cristiano Mago in Rinaldo for Glyndebourne Festival Opera on tour.

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Armonico Consort

Armonico Consort began life in 2001, set up by Christopher Monks and a group of university colleagues with a shared passion for music from the Renaissance to Baroque, coupled with the imagination to find new and unusual ways to present concerts. Audiences seemed to love their engaging and imaginative approach, and most concerts in the first years sold out. “That gave us the confidence, energy and self-belief to carry on and do more, also to take more risks with our programming, and keep on experimenting” says Christopher. The ideas kept flowing, as did the titles “many of them were created down the pub...” including the concert programmes Naked Byrd, Supersize Polyphony, Monteverdi’s Flying Circus, Too Hot to Handel, Love Handels and Baroque...
more
Armonico Consort began life in 2001, set up by Christopher Monks and a group of university colleagues with a shared passion for music from the Renaissance to Baroque, coupled with the imagination to find new and unusual ways to present concerts. Audiences seemed to love their engaging and imaginative approach, and most concerts in the first years sold out.
“That gave us the confidence, energy and self-belief to carry on and do more, also to take more risks with our programming, and keep on experimenting” says Christopher.
The ideas kept flowing, as did the titles “many of them were created down the pub...” including the concert programmes Naked Byrd, Supersize Polyphony, Monteverdi’s Flying Circus, Too Hot to Handel, Love Handels and Baroque around the Block. Their horizons broadened to include more contemporary repertoire but at the heart remained music of the Baroque and Renaissance,including some rarely heard gems performed by some of the world’s finest singers and period instrument players: “We take great care to craft programmes which bring as much little-known music to life as possible, and find new and imaginative ways to bring this music to audiences. I’m particularly proud of Supersize Polyphony where we perform 40 and 60-part works by Tallis and Striggio in the round, surrounding the audience, interpolated by the timeless chants of Hildegard of Bingen.” It was this particular programme which earned the group their first 5-star reviews, from The Times and the BBC Music Magazine, and there were plenty more to follow.
An education programme was fundamental to Armonico Consort from the outset and now encompasses three AC Academy after-school choirs and an in-school choir creation programme which trains teachers as choir leaders, leaving a strong legacy across the UK, to date creating almost 300 choirs and choir leaders reaching over 250,000 young people. Christopher Monks says “Having reached 20 years, we are seeing so many of these young people who have been with the group since the age of 7 now singing as AC Academy Scholars alongside the professional singers. It is so rewarding to see how the opportunities we have created have changed them not just as musicians, but as humans, and this has driven much of what we are now going on to create”.
Future developments for AC Academy include the overseas expansion of the Choir Creation programme in Kenya working in partnership with several organisations to create choirs for street children, aiming to bring them back into health care and education, and away from abuse or addiction. In addition to this, Armonico Consort has begun a major new partnership with Foundaçion Azteca in Mexico which will see them train new choir leaders across Mexico working with the Orchestra of the Americas to create the first high level symphony orchestra and chorus in the country.
In 2016, in partnership with their sponsors Phillips66, Armonico Consort created a major new initiative ‘The Voice Squad’ introducing a Phillips66 workplace choir in an effort to improve the wellbeing of employees. This has had an incredibly positive impact on the mental health of the workforce, especially now that the beneficial effects of singing on the human mind are so well established. The ‘Voice Squad’ has since been extended to workplaces and communities around the country and as of 2020, following a new partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, now includes care homes and their first ever choir for those living with dementia. Most exciting of all is the new research which suggests that Baroque music in particular is extremely effective at unlocking memories for those affected by dementia which is something the Consort plans to fully explore as they continually strive to find new ways for their musicians to thrive in the modern world.

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Christopher Monks (conductor)

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