Lorraine and the gentlemen's clubs
June 18, 2008 by Norman Lebrecht
A wonderful release of Bach and Handel arias by the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson has just appeared on the self-publish community label, Avie, and is reviewed as my CD of the week.
No need to say more about the Bach, but Handel’s Hercules was completely unknown to me and I revelled both in the musical invention and in Lorraine’s fine articulation. The track that leaped out at me from the headphones was an aria titled ‘Resign thy club’ and I kept having to rub my ears to make sure I was hearing right.
Handel paid great attention to the words he set. ‘Resign thy club’ is supposed to tell Hercules give up the fighting and come home to mummy. But I couldn’t help wondering if Handel here wasn’t signalling an in-joke to his patrons who spent their evenings in the London gentlemen’s clubs tht run along Pall Mall. If they happened to take a little snooze in act two, a call to resign from the Atheneum would be sure to stir them in the stalls.
Anyone know more about this aria?
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