Cruel Tyrant Love


This previously unknown version of the solo cantata, Crudel tiranno Amor (Cruel tyrant Love) by George Friedrich Handel (1685–1759), resurfaced in a newly discovered, complete autograph score among the many posthumous estates housed in the Music Department of the Bavarian State Library. It was found in a miscellany of 18 manuscripts formerly owned by the well-known cultural historian, musicographer, and novelist Wilhelm Heinrich von Riehl (1823–97). The sensational discovery was made in 2004 by the musicologist Dr. Berthold Over, who succeeded in identifying the manuscript’s anonymous Italian cantata as a work by Handel in his own hand. The Munich autograph hands down the complete cantata on 11 pages. However, rather than being scored for solo soprano, two oboes, strings, and basso continuo, as described in the Handel thematic catalogue (HWV 97), the solo voice is accompanied by a single keyboard instrument. Many musical details in this chamber version deviate from the work’s previously known source tradition. The original version probably received its first public hearing at King’s Theatre in Haymarket, London, on July 5, 1721, whereas this version was written much later, presumably in or around 1738.

Last updated: July 3, 2014