Saturday, 1 August 2015

Handel - Trio Sonatas Opp. 2 & 5 - AAM/Egarr

Rating: 5/5

A fabulous set

This is a fabulous set. Handel's chamber music is far less well known than his vocal and choral works or than his wonderful concerti grossi but it is delightful and of the highest quality. Packed with Handel's genius for melody and harmonic invention, it is among of the best of Baroque chamber music in my view, and these trio sonatas contain some of the best of it.

The performances here are terrific. I have had sets of Op.2 by Sonnerie and Op.5 by L'École d'Orphée for years. Both are excellent and I have loved them dearly, but this set is at least their equal and I may even prefer it. The individual musicians are all outstanding: Richard Egarr and Pavlo Beznosiuk both now have high and well-deserved international reputations, and Rodolfo Richter, Rachel Brown and Joseph Crouch are just as good here. There is an effortless virtuosity about the ensemble and they play with a wonderful poise and understanding both of the music and of each other, bringing out all the subtleties and moods of this varied music and it is simply a joy to listen to. The recorded sound is rich, intimate and beautifully balanced and the presentation and notes are very good.

I am sorry to sound gushing, but I really think this set is something very special. It has given me a huge amount of pleasure and I recommend it very warmly.

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