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Handel’s English Cantatas


Release Date: September 2008

In this day and age is there any more to be traced and discovered from Handel’s “lost music”? The Brook Street Band, awarded a Gramophone Editor’s Choice for their AVIE debut of Handel’s “Oxford” Water Music (AV 0028), certainly think so. Their inquisitive fourth disc for AVIE presents music unheard since the composer’s time, his English Cantatas and Songs.

Some of the music is certainly borrowed from well known works such as the operatic masterpiece Giulio Cesare, but here the English songs are mostly original compositions which were probably intended for indoor performances in front of a very small audience. For these vocal pieces the Band are joined by soprano Nicki Kennedy and alto Sally Bruce-Payne, both known soloists in the field of Early Music, Choral and Opera.


Disc 1:
1 – 6 Cantata: So Pleasing the Pain Is
7 – 12 Cantata: With Roving
Disc 2:
1 – 5 Cantata: To Lonely Shades
6 I Like the Am’rous Youth
7 An Answer to Collin’s Complaint
8 The Forsaken Nymph
9 Dear Adonis, Beauty’s Treasure
10 Love’s but the Frailty of the Mind
11 Twas when the Seas were Roaring
12 Transporting Joys

‘…Nicki Kennedy and Sally Bruce-Payne are superb vocalists, every English diphthong beautifully articulated, but the big hand belongs to the four-piece band… for the richness of their sound, a delight from start to close.’
Norman Lebrecht, Evening Standard, December 2008, 5-star review + pick of the week

‘…the Band is as deliciously poised and pertinent as ever.’
BBC Music Magazine, January 2009

‘Handel recycles some of his best tunes in vocal music that’s a fresh as a summer’s day. Lovely ensemble playing and expressive soloists.’
Classic FM Magazine, January 2009

‘As always, The Brook Street Band has a delightfully light touch, never solemn, and they are beautifully complemented here by the clear Baroque soprano of Nicki Kennedy and the rich alto of Sally Bruce-Payne.’
HMV Choice, Sept/Oct 08

‘Essential listening for all Handelians, and the performances are first class.’
Early Music Review