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Britten & John Hahessy
Recorded at a concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London,
23rd February 1970.
Janet Baker, mezzo-soprano; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; George Malcolm, organ and harpsichord; Kenneth Heath, cello continuo; continuo realisations by George Malcolm.
The remaining 25 minutes of this 75-minute disc are drawn from a 1970 London concert recording with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. The Handel Italian duets are lovely chips off the master's workbench, beautifully sung. The trio of "Dialogues" by the 17th-century Lawes brothers, similarly well-sung but on a significantly lesser level, demonstrate that Baker doesn't do coyness very well, which is to her credit. Everything's sung in Italian except for the Lawes selections. Texts are provided for all selections, including English translations for the Italian ones. Sound is overly bright at the top end, an effect exacerbated by the high transfer level. Dan Davis