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Handel: Sonatas for Violin and Basso Continuo

AV2387

Release Date: June 2018

The Brook Street Band’s passion for the music of George Frideric Handel shines through on this recording of the nine Violin Sonatas by – or attributed to – the Baroque composer.

The ensemble’s 10th release for AVIE compliments its critically acclaimed and award-winning discography of a wide variety of Handel’s chamber music and vocal works. Combining consummate artistry with characteristic inquisitiveness, The Brook Street Band – posing the question ‘how many violin sonatas did Handel actually compose?’ – offers nine works composed over a span of 40 years, from the German-born Handel’s early years honing his style in Italy to his later years as a leading light in London.

He composed some and his name has been variously ascribed by others, depending on which publisher was cashing in, perhaps in cahoots with the commercially-minded composer. But who really knows and one could ask who cares, especially with music of such colour performed with such panache.

Tracks:

1 – 3 Violin Sonata in G, HWV 358
4 – 7 Violin Sonata in D minor, HWV 359a
8 – 11 Violin Sonata in A, HWV 361
12 – 15 Violin Sonata in G minor, HWV 364a
16 – 19 Violin Sonata in A, HWV 372
20 – 23 Violin Sonata in E, HWV 373
24 – 27 Violin Sonata in G minor HWV 368
28 – 31 Violin Sonata in F, HWV 370
32 – 35 Violin Sonata in D, HWV 371

 

‘Hijinks from Handel … Lovely playing from the first sonata right through the last … the performances convince absolutely as does the recording. Add it to The Brook Street Band’s previous albums with complete confidence.’
BBC Radio 3 Record Review

‘This release is a thorough pleasure … Sample one of the fast movements…to hear the vigorous, strongly rhythmic, rather edgy approach favoured by these musicians. Especially noteworthy are the slow-movement gestures of violinist Rachel Harris, which convince the listener that they were the work of a master of opera. More than an album for Handel completists, this is a strong release from a British group that has consistently issued historically informed Baroque performances of passion and commitment.’
AllMusic

‘erudite, intimate music, not without violinistic fireworks. The BSB include cello alongside harpsichord for the continuo, satisfyingly grounding the texture. Rachel Harris delivers these eloquent expressions of the violinist’s art with stylish sweetness, her embellishments beautifully measured.’
The Sunday Times

‘none finer than this outstanding recording of Handel’s Sonatas for violin and basso continuo played by The Brook Street Band. The BSB brings the sonatas to life with fresh, eminently stylish accounts, performed with impressive audible detail…Handel’s violin sonatas could hardly receive finer advocacy than these exceptional performances here from The BSB.’
Music Web – Recording of the Month

‘As a trio, the [BSB] perform superbly and wonderfully sympathetically, with Theo and Gibley supporting Harris in an admirable manner…period performances full of musicality and great style. The BSB bring a lovely combination of virtuosity and vibrancy to the performances, really engaging the audience and making you want to listen for more.’
Planet Hugill

 ‘For me, this new offering from The Brook Street Band – as intoxicating and spirited as it is sensitive and feeling – will now be the new benchmark for others to aspire to.’
Music-Web International

 I’m very glad that the BSB have given us all nine [Handel violin sonatas], and all the more so, given the life with which they’ve imbued them… The various ornamentation, articulation and repeat decision have come off brilliantly. You simply don’t know what’s coming next, which I mean in the best possible way. Bravo!’
Gramophone

‘Readers familiar with [The BSB’s] invigorating recordings of Handel’s Trio Sonatas Opp. 2 and 5 will not be disappointed by this new release. The finest music, of which there is much reaches a peak with the D Major sonata HWV371 coming across with natural grace and effective articulation.’
BBC Music Magazine 4 *