›I'm no musician,‹ says Donna Leon. ›I can't read music. I know nothing about musical theory. I'm a follower, a groupie, call me what you will: I am a heart with a pair of ears stuck on, one that for over ten years has been listening almost exclusively to music by Handel.‹ While listening, it struck Donna Leon that Handel's music is teeming with animals, that he again and again gives voice to animals through his notation. What is Handel's intention when a snake hisses through an aria or when armies of frogs penetrate the King's chambers? Donna Leon investigates. She tells us how animals have informed the imagination, beliefs and superstitions since year dot. Handel's Bestiary reveals a different side to Donna Leon: she is not only an appreciator of music, but also an expert in the symbolism of medieval bestiaries. Michael Sowa has also taken inspiration from those animals to create these marvellous images.
The arias on the attached CD are performed by the Handel expert Alan Curtis and his orchestra, Il Complesso Barocco. Divertimento fantastico!