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Handel: The Sonatas for Violin and Continuo


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • ASIN: B0000018ZL
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #236,418 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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This recording is pure indulgence. Barton reminds me of a few other young artists doing Baroque work these days (such as Ophelie Gaillard, the French cellist), who is capable of striking a very exciting balance between Baroque performance convention and a more personal, individual style. Barton plays with a confident, modern tone (standard pitch too), but uses ornaments and articulation typical of period performance. The balance between the instruments, criticized by another reviewer, is for me one of this recording's most pleasant features. The lush interplay of the instruments creates an experience that I can only compare to the feeling of eating some heavenly desert. First there is the rich, solid (but never heavy) base of cello, the sweet ambrosial filling of Barton's violin, and a crispy crust added by the harpsichord, giving texture and structure to the whole pie. Perhaps this analogy is a bit far-fetched for a review like this (in fairness though, this is the first time I've even thought of comparing a recording to food), but listening to the first few moments of the A major or D major sonatas alone manages to make traditional categories of description seem inadequate to me. I heartily recommend this recording.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Baroque violin sonatas intelligently played April 5 2001
By klavierspiel - Published on Amazon.com
The history of Handel's sonatas for violin and continuo is a tangled web worthy of a detective novel. Suffice it to say that of the six included in the nineteenth-century complete edition of Chrysander, four were spurious, while other authentic works intended for violin by Handel remained largely unknown until modern times.
The present recording by the young American violinist Rachel Barton includes all of the works for violin and continuo known to be authentic Handel, plus three of the four spurious sonatas included by Chrysander and published under Handel's name in separate editions for many years. Musical justification is given in the liner notes for _not_ including the fourth sonata, in E major, though one suspects that the real reason was lack of sufficient room on the CD.
Musicological questions aside, this disc makes enjoyable listening. Perceptive listeners may be able to distinguish the authentic works from the doubtful by the former's greater harmonic variety, breadth of form and technical brilliance, but most music lovers won't care. At any rate, it hardly matters when all are played with equal ease and authority by Barton and company, performing on modern instruments at standard pitch. The general sound and musical tone is an intelligent compromise between so-called historically informed performance on authentic instruments, and mainstream practice. At times the profusion of added ornamentation gets in the way of rather than enhances the melodic line. In particular, cellist John Rozendaal's insistence on elevating the basso continuo to the same prominence and elaboration as the solo is occasionally irritating. On the whole, though, this recording is an expert, absorbing traversal of music that is too frequently relegated to "student repertoire" status.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Lush, wonderful recording - more like desert than music Jan. 22 2003
By C. Dyer - Published on Amazon.com
This recording is pure indulgence. Barton reminds me of a few other young artists doing Baroque work these days (such as Ophelie Gaillard, the French cellist), who is capable of striking a very exciting balance between Baroque performance convention and a more personal, individual style. Barton plays with a confident, modern tone (standard pitch too), but uses ornaments and articulation typical of period performance. The balance between the instruments, criticized by another reviewer, is for me one of this recording's most pleasant features. The lush interplay of the instruments creates an experience that I can only compare to the feeling of eating some heavenly desert. First there is the rich, solid (but never heavy) base of cello, the sweet ambrosial filling of Barton's violin, and a crispy crust added by the harpsichord, giving texture and structure to the whole pie. Perhaps this analogy is a bit far-fetched for a review like this (in fairness though, this is the first time I've even thought of comparing a recording to food), but listening to the first few moments of the A major or D major sonatas alone manages to make traditional categories of description seem inadequate to me. I heartily recommend this recording.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful - but I really don't like harpsichords June 11 2005
By cadgenottosh - Published on Amazon.com
This is a truly marvellous recording. The slow movements are played beautifully, with delicate and emotive ornamentation, while the fast ones are exciting and, well, fast. The cello sound in the contnuo is also rich, with just the right character. My only problems are with the harpsichord part. As a (very amateur) violinist, I own the Barenreiter edition of this, and noticed that the right hand harpsichord part seems sometimes to be missing. This detracts from the music - for example, in the first mvmt of the D major, while the violin is resting, the harpsichord should play the motif of the previous two bars. But doesn't. Also, in nearly all music I prefer the sound of a piano to a harpsichord (philistine that I am...)


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