…Bradley Creswick and his colleagues offer straightforward and vital modern instrument readings of these delightful gems… If your preference is modern instruments, there is no reason to pay more than the Naxos price, especially if you're interested in a bright and jaunty interpretation that is also well recorded.
…and the whole production is superbly engineered and presented with Harmonia Mundi's usual care for every detail of production. It doesn't get any better.
…But what stands out is the overall sound, the brightness and energy of the ensemble, the often rapid yet appropriate tempi. All that depends on a conductor who truly understands the music. This memorable recording is a must for lovers of Handel’s instrumental music. This bargain re-release makes it even more attractive - this is a disc to snap up right away.
I Solisti Italiani is a chamber string orchestra consisting of about 12 players, known particularly for their spirited readings of works from the Baroque and Classical periods. They have performed and recorded much Vivaldi over the years and have devoted nearly as much effort to the works of Handel, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Rossini…
This was William Christie's last recording for Harmonia Mundi, and it really is a pity that he only recorded five out of a total of twelve concertos, for these are superb performances in every respect. If you're looking for an excellent selection on one disc from Handel's Op. 6, then you really can't do better. On the other hand, I can't imagine anyone not wanting the whole set, and Andrew Manze and the Academy of Ancient Music, also on Harmonia Mundi, squeeze them all onto just two discs in performances every bit as fine as these. It's your call. –David Hurwitz
Handel’s two sets of concerti grossi have been mainstays of the Baroque orchestral repertoire for many years and therefore have been embraced by ensembles around the world. They are among the few remaining examples of concertos composed early in his career. The dozen concertos of Handel’s op. 6 have eclipsed the half-dozen of op. 3 in popularity. The purpose of the set was twofold: to serve as interval music in his operas and oratorios, and—via their publication—to ensure dissemination to the various concerto societies and venues of London. Handel solicits comparison to the Corellian model by titling the set Twelve Grand Concertos and by making use of a concertino of two violins, cello, and continuo, a combination that was extremely popular at the time.