Bob van Asperen's recording of Handel's Organ Concertos Op.7 is the newest addition to the Veritas x2 series. Veritas x2 is a series from Virgin Classics devoted to landmark recordings of early Baroque music. Handel's Organ Concertos contain six organ concertos for organ and orchestra. They were written for performance during Handel's oratorios and contain almost entirely original material. Bob van Asperen leads the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in this recording.
Simon Preston's recordings of the complete set of Handel's organ concertos with Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert was the first to use the latest musicological research by Anthony Hicks. These recordings remain unsurpassed from a scholarly point of view, and the performances themselves remained a benchmark for at least a decade. They may not be the best versions available now but still have a lot to offer. Preston's performances are alert and still sound very vibrant and strong, yet it must be confessed that the rather harsh sound of Preston's instrument in Opus 7 verges on becoming joyless at times.
Monica Huggett and her ensemble Sonnerie scored a hit on Avie with their recording of Handel's Trio Sonatas, Op. 2. They continue their traversal of Handel's chamber works with the Organ Concertos, Op. 4, featuring soloist Matthew Halls, a brilliant young soloist who spins out Handel's endlessly tuneful works with an improvisatory flair that the composer - himself a virtuoso organist - would surely have approved of.
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’.
Here's a second release from Brilliant Classics of the Neapolitan musician Francesco Mancini (1672–1737), a leading light in his city's culture of composition and education as director of the Conservatorio di S Maria di Loreto, maestro of the Royal Chapel and composer of 29 operas and more than 200 cantatas. His modern reputation largely rests on his recorder sonatas (available on 94058); the new release extends our knowledge of that cheerful aesthetic to his recorder concertos, in similarly sprightly, periodinstrument performances by young musicians with a background in this repertoire.
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.”