Handel’s successful blend of new composition and arrangements of existing pieces in his Op. 4 organ concertos is winningly conveyed by this excellent recording. Van Asperen’s stylish playing and appropriate registration, aided by sensitive orchestral support, emphasise this music’s startling diversity. No. 1’s improvisatory organ solos; the expressive contrast between violin and cello concertino and organ in No. 3, and the enchanting atmosphere of the more delicately scored No. 6 are notable highlights.– Nicholas Rast, BBC Music Magazine
This recording brings together all the arrangements for harpsichord by Bach of instrumental concertos by his Italian contemporary Antonio Vivaldi, adding those of one concerto each by the brothers Alessandro and Benedetto Marcello. They are performed by Sophie Yates who has made a series of solo CDs for Chandos, many of which have won international awards. She has been described by Gramophone as ‘hugely talented’ and by BBC Music as playing ‘with exceptional poise’.
After recording Vivaldi's set of Violin Concertos 'La Stravaganza', Opus 4, in 2003, Rachel Podger has been immersed in music by Mozart and Bach on disc. But it has now felt right to come back to the Venetian Maestro, whose sense of drama she adores: “This time I chose his opus 9, the set of 12 Violin concertos entitled 'La Cetra'. There are plenty of jewels in this set, just as in 'La Stravaganza', with even higher technical demands made on the soloist including many, often exotic experimental effects.”
"When listening to this CD I turned the volume up just slightly past my normal listening level, and I was rewarded with a room-filling reproduction of what I’d heard in Amsterdam. "Uitstekend!" Highly recommended." ~ClassicsToday.com
George Frideric Handel (23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-born British Baroque composer famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Born in a family indifferent to music, Handel received critical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) as a naturalized British subject in 1727. By then he was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.
…Even if you have other recordings of Op.4, including the beautifully restored Chorzempa/Schroeder set, this winningly idiomatic and novel account is highly desirable, in both the loving musicianship and its glowing sonic portrait.
Though not as popular as his Concerti Grossi, Handel's Organ Concertos have been fair game for recording artists in recent years. They are not terribly well known but they attract readily when heard. As most Handel watchers know, there are three sets of Organ Concertos, only one of which - Opus 4 - was published in the composer's lifetime. It is not unusual for record labels to pick and choose a selection of the most obviously showy or ear-friendly ones. There is nothing wrong with this, since these pieces were produced to act as interludes in Oratorios rather than to be played in sequence. Nevertheless, and not least because this set represents about the only thing that could just about pass muster for 'authenticity' in the genre, it is good to have a 67 minute CD of the six Opus 4 works - in G Minor, B Flat, G minor again, F, F again, and B flat…
This is a first class offering. Not only do we get to listen to excellent Czech music, we get to hear it in exceptional digital sound.
Brixi's concerti move along efficiently from one idea to the next and Chrsitian Schmitt's choice of the Weimbs organ in Cologne and the European Chamber Soloists led by Nicol Matt are the perfect compliment.