Nel dolce dell'oblio

Pensieri notturni di Filli ; Cantata (HWV 134)

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

for soprano (c'-a''), recorder and bc

Ref. no Han 18 (in 'cantatas')           sample page      cover page      To order:     

It is thought that the present instrumental cantata, Nel dolce dell’oblio, whose title is properly Pensieri notturni di Filli, does in fact date from 1707, at the start of Handel’s period in Rome, on the evidence of the paper used in the autograph, and his style of handwriting at that time. As is usual in Handel’s solo cantatas at this time the work consists of two Recit-Aria pairs, although for instrumental cantatas the structure was often based on three or even four pairs.

It is not known who contributed the libretto for this cantata. It is a little unusual in that the singer refers to his lover as “my adored Phillis”, but then goes on to describe only Phillis’ feelings and imaginings, as an ‘omniscient author’. It seems that Phillis is having a nice time half dreaming of her lover, but the final aria warns that this may be followed by sorrow when the imaginings fade.