Brilliant Classics continues its famous Composer Edition series with one of the giants of the Baroque, George Frideric Handel, the celebrated German who settled in London. Having absorbed the German and Italian styles of his time he formed his own distinctive musical language, which, while following the current fashions and audience preferences, retained his own deep humanity and inner power.
McGegan's recording is of considerable documentary interest in that a separate section at the conclusion of each of the three parts of Messiah - there are three discs accordingly - is reserved for the many alternative versions of arias, accompanied recitatives and choruses which Handel himself used or at least approved in performances during the 1740s and 1750s. In this way, the booklet explains, the listener can select which version of the work he/she wants to listen to at any given time. About six versions are possible from the 18 alternative tracks provided on the three CDs. By following a table printed in the back of the booklet (a few minutes' mental gymnastics are initially required) you can programme your CD player to replace particular arias with others.
Handel's Concerti Grossi opus 6 must surely be ranked as some of the greatest orchestral music ever composed. Probably penned in or around 1739, the pieces were developed to serve as orchestral "interludes" for other operatic or oratorio performances. To listen to them, however, is to tempt us not believe that this could possibly be the case: the Concerti Grossi opus 6 works are without doubt among the pinnacle of Baroque composition. After listening to these, we are left with a distinct sadness that Handel did not turn his attention more to this genre, as his masterful treatment in the opus 6 shows us his true genius.
…From this background material Handel made something completely new, with rich, unusual sound effects in the strings. Banzo's group Al Ayre Español, which does not at all restrict itself to Spanish music, catches this kind of unusual moment quite vividly. It's a specialist group of the best kind, the kind that aims at general audiences and puts across fairly arcane material by dint of sheer musicality. An ideal choice for those who want to get deeper into how Handel's London audiences heard his music.
With The All-Baroque Box we realize one of our fondest dreams: harnessing the deep catalogue of Archiv Produktion (supplemented on occasion by Decca L oiseau lyre recordings) to create a comprehensive collection of great music from Monteverdi to Bach. The music ranges from huge Baroque (Missa Salisburgensis, Venetian polychoral, Charpentier Te Deum) to intimate Baroque (the Goldberg Variations, Bach cello suites, solo cantatas) overwhelming in its impact and emotional content.
“Carmelite Vespers 1709” presents a reconstruction of musical performances in Rome in 1709, based on a new critical edition by Italian Handel expert Angela Romagnoli. In early 18th century-Rome the holiday of Madonna del Carmine was celebrated with a lavish musical pasticcio. Italian Early Music specialist Alessandro de Marchi, his Academia Montis Regalis and an excellent ensemble of solo vocalists present the reconstruction of such a service as it might have been performed in 1709 under the direction of Venetian master Antonio Caldara (1670–1736). The programme combines lesser-known but stunningly beautiful pieces by Caldara himself with famous motets by his predecessor Handel such as “Dixit Dominus” or “Laudate pueri”.
Beethoven reputedly wasn't Beecham's favorite composer, but you wouldn't know it from this performance; it's exceedingly well conceived, highly energetic, and has that unique Beecham sparkle to it. The fillers also are delightful. All recorded in Ascona, Switzerland in 1957.