Hirundo Maris is Latin for “sea swallow” and, like that bird’s flight, harpist Arianna Savall’s quintet – part early music ensemble, part folk group – drifts on musical currents between Norway and Catalonia, and adds its own songs, created on the wing. Savall and co-leader Petter Udland Johansen have shaped a band with a bright, glistening timbral blend, capped by Arianna’s ice-clear voice, well-equipped to address songs of the north and the south.
Handel is my favorite composer. But even if he's not your favorite there are still many reasons to purchase this set of 3 CDs. If you enjoy baroque vocal music. If you enjoy wonderful singing and graceful music. Long, tuneful arias punctuated by brief recitatives. Also the production label for this CD is MDG and the acoustics for their recordings are always top-notch without any sort of soundmodifying manipulation. And how they can produce such a superior recording of 3 CDs for $20 and some change is beyond me. Anyway I'm not a knowledgeable music critic. I just know what I like though I do happen to think I have good taste in music. In my humble opinion music like Handel's is a privileged foretaste of what we will experience in Heaven. That may sound like hyperbole to some but not to those of us who are passionate about baroque music. If you're a seasoned Handel fan you must have this recording. If you're new to the baroque vocal music scene you also must have it. Hurry up and purchase before the good people at MDG come to their senses and double the price! (amazon.com)
In his satirical introduction to The Beggars' Opera of 1728, John Gay claims that he "introduced the similes that are in your celebrated operas: the Swallow, the Moth, the Bee, the Ship, the Flower…and I have observed such nice impartiality to our two ladies that it is impossible for either of them to take offence." He might equally well have been referring to Marcello's charming Arianna (1726), which does indeed employ the usual Metastasian similes in the arias, and has two plum female roles for Arianna and her sister, Fedra (Phaedra)… –Warwick Thompson