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CD Review

George Frideric Handel

12 Concerti Grossi, Op. 6

  • Concerto grosso in G Major, HWV 319
  • Concerto grosso in F Major, HWV 320
  • Concerto grosso in E minor, HWV 321
  • Concerto grosso in A minor, HWV 322
  • Concerto grosso in D Major, HWV 323
  • Concerto grosso in G minor, HWV 324
  • Concerto grosso in B Flat Major, HWV 325
  • Concerto grosso in C minor, HWV 326
  • Concerto grosso in F Major, HWV 327
  • Concerto grosso in D minor, HWV 328
  • Concerto grosso in A Major, HWV 329
  • Concerto grosso in B minor, HWV 330
Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini
L'Oiseau-Lyre (Decca) 4780319 3CDs 168m DDD
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Il Giardino Armonico has already made a name for themselves with some quality recordings for L'Oiseau-Lyre. Here they bring their expertise and panache to Handel's, Op. 6 concertos for 2 violins, cello, strings & continuo. The innovative cover photo sets the stage for things to come with the interpretations full of attacca touches and a generally energetic air which makes the performances quite infectious.

In an equally innovative programme note, Simon Heighes interviews Giovanni Antonini, the director of these fabulously talented Italians where he says that he wanted to steer away from the pompous and ceremonial side of Handel's music. From repeated hearings it looks like he has certainly managed as the performances resemble Vivaldi in their capacity to dance and move around in quite infectious fashion.

As one has come to expect from L'Oiseau-Lyre, the recordings are of top drawer quality throughout with the ensemble balance pretty well nigh perfect in all departments. I would recommend newcomers to this repertoire to seriously investigate this set as it is probably the most stylish around at the moment and will afford endless pleasure even after repeated listening – a fine tribute to the Handel anniversary.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech