Händel Goes Wild – Can you handle it?

The great works of art aren’t meant to be put on a shelf to be forgotten. They are here to be interpreted by the artists of the time.  Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” can be played by a new crop of young actors.  In this sense, “old made new” is what makes a classic.

I’m grateful to have been sneaked an advance copy of the album “Händel Goes Wild,” an album by Austrian multi-instrumentalist Christina Pluhar and her ensemble L’Arpeggiata.  “Händel Goes Wild” breathes new life into the music of German baroque composer Georg Friedrich Händel.

Wild? Well, the interpretations are certainly lively.  I’ve been endlessly listening to the CD in my home and in the car, but perhaps Händel was a bit of a wild man as well. Apparently, at a rehearsal for his opera Ottone, the Italian soprano-diva Francesca Cuzzoni refused to sing the aria “Falsa Immagine.”  Händel responded by grabbing her around the waist and threatening to throw her out of the window.

Listening to “Händel Goes Wild” has been a pleasure and I recommend the album if you are looking for a lively introduction to the composer.  It’s a reminder that the great works of art are eternal and also without borders.  The ensemble L’Arpeggiata is joined by Spanish soprano Nuria Rial, Romanian countertenor Valer Sabadus and Italian jazz clarinetist Gianluigi Trovesi making it a truly global album, one that I’m sure would have driven Händel wild with enthusiasm.

“Händel Goes Wild” will be available September 1st from Warner Classics.