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Standage: Handel – Concerti Grossi op.6 vol.3 (FLAC)

Standage: Handel - Concerti Grossi op.6 vol.3 (FLAC)
Standage: Handel – Concerti Grossi op.6 vol.3 (FLAC)

Composer: George Frideric Handel
Orchestra: Collegium Musicum 90
Conductor: Simon Standage
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Chandos
Catalogue: CHAN0622
Release: 1998
Size: 310 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: cover

Concerto grosso, Op. 6 No. 10 in D minor, HWV328
01. I. Overture – Allegro
02. II. Allegro
03. III. Air: Lentement
04. IV. Allegro
05. V. Allegro
06. VI. Allegro moderato

Concerto grosso, Op. 6 No. 11 in A major, HWV329
07. I. Andante larghetto e staccato
08. II. Allegro
09. III. Largo e staccato
10. IV. Andante
11. V. Allegro

Concerto grosso, Op. 6 No. 12 in B minor, HWV330
12. I. Largo
13. II. Allegro
14. III. Aria: Larghetto e piano
15. IV. Largo
16. V. Allegro

Concerto grosso in C, HWV 318 ‘Alexander’s Feast’
17. I. Allegro
18. II. Largo
19. III. Allegro
20. IV. Andante, non presto

The first disc of the ever-fresh Op 6 Concertigrossi includes the oboe parts that Handel later added to Nos 1, 2, 5 and 6. The performances are brimful of vitality, and the clean articulation and light, predominantly detached style give the music buoyancy and help to bring out Handel’s often mischievous twinkle in the eye. Speeds are generally brisk, with boldly vigorous playing, but Standage’s team can also spin a tranquil broad line. Dynamics throughout are subtly graded, and except in one final cadence ornamentation is confined to small cadential trills.

On the second disc, except, in the sombre colours in the splendid G minor Concerto (No 6) – here with oboe and the agreeable addition of a theorbo to the continuo – there’s a general air of cheerfulness that’s most engaging. The fugue in No 7 is wittily buoyant, the Allegro in No 9, borrowed from the Cuckoo and the nightingale Organ Concerto, could scarcely be more high-spirited, the final Passepied of No 6 and the Hornpipe of No 7 are spring-toed; and Standage’s feeling for convincing tempos is nowhere better shown than in the long Musette of No 6, which in other hands can drag. Phrasing everywhere is shapely, and the surprise chords that interrupt the flow of No 8’s Allemande are admirably ‘placed’.

On the final disc the playing is always on its toes – positively twinkling in dance movements such as the concluding fugal gigue of No 12.

The last two concertos, No 11 in particular, give Simon Standage an opportunity to shine as a soloist; his ad lib sections are tastefully done, without excesses; his semiquavers in the variants of the A major Andante are feather-light. All dynamics are well contrasted in a natural way, and the tempos nicely judged; a slightly faster repeat of the first half of No 10’s fifth movement suggests the splicing of a different take. As a fillup, we’re presented with the Alexander’s Feast concerto grosso, for which the string group is joined by oboes and bassoon. The excellent concertino of two violins and cello is thrown into high relief and the Allegro movements are performed with a delightful spring.

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