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Stephen Churley (England)
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Geminiani: Concerti Grossi, Opp.2, 3 & 4
Geminiani: Concerti Grossi, Opp.2, 3 & 4
Offered by mmv_uk
Price: £6.36

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value and spirited playing, 15 Jun 2012
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These concerti grossi are very good music and should appeal to anyone who enjoys the concerti grossi of Corelli and Handel. In fact they sound like a cross between the two. I think they are underrated and under-recorded. In many ways I prefer Geminiani to much of Vivaldi as the former's works seem to have more substance and are harmonically and melodically interesting with some ravishing slow movements. The recordings on this set were made in 1975-6 on modern instruments and the sound is a bit constricted and treble-heavy. But the playing is very spirited in the fast movements and graceful in the slow movements. In many ways this set does for Geminiani what the ASMF Marriner set did for Handel's concert grossi, with similar performance style and recording.


Joseph Gibbs: Complete Violin Sonatas
Joseph Gibbs: Complete Violin Sonatas
Price: £29.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very old-fashioned playing, 10 Jun 2012
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These are very good sonatas and should appeal to anyone who likes Handel's chamber music or the recently issued CD (on Glossa GCD 921806) of Richard Jones's chamber airs for violin (which I highly recommend). Sadly the playing is not at all 'authentic' in the baroque sense. The recording, made in 1986, sounds like it was produced in the 1950's. Bezkorvany is quite a good violinist but far too romantic in his approach and he is accompanied on a modern harpsichord, complete with tricksy registration. Actually I would have preferred a piano! It reminds me of the sort of LPs made by George Malcolm and Co., and in those days would probably have been regarded as perfectly acceptable. But times have moved on. These sonatas are crying out for a good period performance. I hope that the same players who did such a splendid job with Jones' chamber airs will turn their attention to these very interesting and inventive sonatas.


William Croft: Complete Harpsichord Works Vol. 2
William Croft: Complete Harpsichord Works Vol. 2

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Croft deserves to be better known, 22 April 2012
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This is an excellent and enterprising survey of William Croft's entire works for keyboard played on three very attractive and varied instruments - virginal, spinet and harpsichord. The playing by Julian Rhodes (who sadly died young) is by turns sensitive, flexible, sprightly and vigorous. These works deserve to be better known. Those who like Purcell's and Handel's keyboard suites will find much to enjoy here. The presentation by the small Ismeron label is excellent. Much loving care has gone into making this disc.


William Croft: Complete Harpsichord Works Vol. 1
William Croft: Complete Harpsichord Works Vol. 1

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Croft deserves to be better known, 22 April 2012
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This is an excellent and enterprising survey of William Croft's entire works for keyboard played on three very attractive and varied instruments - virginal, spinet and harpsichord. The playing by Julian Rhodes (who sadly died young) is by turns sensitive, flexible, sprightly and vigorous. These works deserve to be better known. Those who like Purcell's and Handel's keyboard suites will find much to enjoy here. The presentation by the small Ismeron label is excellent. Much loving care has gone into making this disc.


Bertali: Prothimia Suavissima - Parte Seconda
Bertali: Prothimia Suavissima - Parte Seconda
Price: £15.35

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great performance of fine neglected music, 22 Mar 2012
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This is another great CD from Gunar Letzbor and Ars Antiqua Austria. Antonio Bertali (1605-1669) was an Italian working at the court of Vienna. These sonatas are very good music indeed and will appeal to anyone who enjoys Schmelzer and Biber. These are 12 short sonatas (3-8 minutes long) in three and four parts for violins and continuo. They are played with great verve and confidence by Letzbor and his team.


Aufschnaiter: Dulcis Fidium Harmonia op 4
Aufschnaiter: Dulcis Fidium Harmonia op 4
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally good sonatas that deserve to be better known, 21 Mar 2012
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Gunar Letzbor and his group Ars Antiqua Austria has developed a high reputation for their performances of lesser-known baroque repertoire, introducing us to music that deserves wider currency. That is the case with Benedikt Anton Aufschnaiter(1665-1742). The 8 sonatas that comprise his Dulcis Fidium Harmonia of 1703 are all sonate di chiesa, and each one is dedicated to a particular saint. The sonatas do not follow the Corellian slow-fast-slow-fast model, but are of the older single movement style with quickly alternating slow and fast episodes, as in the works of Schmelzer and Biber. It is odd to think that in 1705 Aufschnaiter succeeded the late Georg Muffat as chapel master of the court and cathedral of Passau, yet Muffat's music seems so much more 'modern'. However, the quality of Aufschnaiter's music is the main thing, and in these works it is uniformly high. This music is passionate and meditative by turns, and it receives superbly idiomatic performances from Ars Antiqua Austria. It deserves to be much better known. I urge anyone who loves Schmelzer and Biber to explore this disc of a forgotten baroque master.


F Couperin: Pièces de clavecin (Harpsichord Works) /Sempé
F Couperin: Pièces de clavecin (Harpsichord Works) /Sempé

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb recital, 21 Mar 2012
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I am having a Skip Sempe fest at the moment because I find his playing, particularly of French music, in a class of its own. I recently bought the Michael Borgstede set of all Couperin's harpsichord works and enjoyed it very much. But I also had to have this recital after hearing Sempe's magisterial performance of La Tenebreuse, the mysterious darkly coloured piece that opens the Third Ordre, on Youtube. The rest of this recital is up to that high standard. The centre of the recital is the whole of the magnificent Ordre 8 (except the last short piece La Morinete, so that the Ordre ends on a climax with the famous Passacaille). There are also six pieces from the tenebrous Ordre 3, six Preludes from L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin and solitary pieces from Ordres 5, 6, 15, 23 and 24. This is a great recital and sets a standard by which others should be judged. The harpsichord by Bruce Kennedy after Ruckers is gloriously rich and beautifully recorded.


Bach: Concertos & Sonatas
Bach: Concertos & Sonatas

5.0 out of 5 stars Leonhardt and Bruggen are still the best in BWV 1044, 16 Mar 2012
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I have the original LP of Gustav Leonhardt, his wife Marie, and Franz Bruggen playing Bach's Triple Concerto BWV 1044 and I have nearly worn it out. This concerto was left out of Leonhardt's set of Bach's harpsichord concertos and generally gets fewer recordings than any of Bach's concertos. Some reviewers have scoffed that it is a weak work arranged from a Fantasia and Fugue for harpsichord. There's nothing weak about the music or this performance. It has wonderful forward momentum, sensitive give and take, and the kind of ambience that puts me in mind of a Vermeer interior. Bruggen's playing of the transverse flute is sublime.

The CD also has a fine performance of the harpsichord concerto BWV 1057 (the one with two recorders) with Leonhardt at the keyboard and Bruggen and Jeanette van Wingerden on recorders. The recorder is not my favourite instrument and can sound shrill and strident. But it never does in Bruggen's recordings. Is that just his playing or the fine original instruments he uses?

The Trio Sonata BWV 1039 receives quite a good performance with Bruggen and Leopold Stastny on transverse flutes, Nikolaus Harnoncourt on cello and Herbert Tachezi on harpsichord. It's a rather workmanlike performance. A pity Leonhardt is not at the keyboard to perk things up.


Apotheoses
Apotheoses

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best version of the Apotheoses, 14 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Apotheoses (Audio CD)
In my view this performance by Jordi Savall and Hesperion XX has never been surpassed. They strike the perfect balance between grandeur and sensitivity and are completely inside the French baroque idiom and its subtle rhetoric. This CD is crying out for reissue. At the moment it is only available at silly prices because it has become so rare. But I bought the MP3 download and it works fine.


Bach/Vivaldi: Concerti and Praeludia
Bach/Vivaldi: Concerti and Praeludia

5.0 out of 5 stars Bach the arranger would have approved, 13 Mar 2012
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This deleted disc appears to have become something of a cult recording selling for inflated prices. It has had rave reviews on the internet but received a terribly stuffy review in the Gramophone when it came out in 1999. I was keen to see what all the fuss was about and managed to get a copy cheap. I fully agree with Mr King that this is a wonderful, exciting performance shedding new light on these pieces. It is one of the most glorious-sounding harpsichord recitals I have ever heard (and I've heard a lot) and the clarity of the two instruments (which have different timbres) is quite breathtaking. My view is that Bach's music is virtually indestructable. Provided it is played musically, with energy enthusiasm and sensitivity, it works. It works splendidly here. Most of the pieces are transcriptions by Bach himself (of music by Marcello, Vivaldi, Ernst and Reincken) which have then been arranged for two harpsichords by Sempe and Fortin. The rest are pieces by Bach which have been transcribed and arranged by the two harpsichordists. Surely this is just the sort of thing that Bach would have approved of? When Sempe and Fortin made this disc they were ahead of their time. It was all too much for the staid Gramophone reviewer. Times have moved on.


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