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Handel: The 6 Organ Concertos Op. 4, Nos. 1-6 - Sonnerie, Matthew Halls

Handel: The 6 Organ Concertos Op. 4, Nos. 1-6 - Sonnerie, Matthew Halls

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Monica Huggett and her ensemble Sonnerie scored a hit on Avie with their recording of Handel's Trio Sonatas, Op. 2 (AV 0033). They continue their traversal of Handel's chamber works with the Organ Concertos, Op. 4. Matthew Halls is the brilliant soloist who spins out Handel's endlessly tuneful works with an improvisatory flair that the composer - himself a virtuoso organist - would surely have approved. Halls was Assistant Organist at New College, Oxford and Director of Music at the University Church before playing harpsichord with the European Union Baroque Orchestra in 1998. Since then he has played with many of Europe's leading period instrument ensembles, including Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra with Tom Koopman, English Baroque Soloists with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and the King's Consort. As a member of Sonnerie, he has appeared at the Wigmore Hall and at Festivals throughout Europe. Matthew is also active as a conductor and is currently assistant musical director of New Chamber Opera. On this recording, he plays a replica of a Baroque style chamber organ, built by Jaap Fama and Henk Klop, and owned by the Dutch Bach Society.

"Sonnerie elect to open this delectable recording with the bright extrovert Concerto No 4
which Handel based on music he had rejected from his autograph of Alcina. Matthew Halls begins this with a fabulous flourish on the organ before Sonnerie launch in setting the pace for the rest of this lively and engaging disc. Halls using a fascinating Dutch chamber organ which is perfect for the intimately balanced ensemble plays the solos in Concerto No 6 (the 'harp' concerto) with admirable delicacy and affection. Firmer music such as the Allegro from Concerto No 3 lacks nothing in intensity or drama. The bouncy finale of Concerto No 5 is a model of zesty vivaciousness. These chamber performances are smaller than those Handel would have directed but one never feels that Sonnerie are weak or underpowered. Although Halls is sometimes accompanied by only six musicians the slow movements are surprisingly lush and evocative. Inspiring interpretations that are a joy from beginning to end." - Gramophone

George Frideric Handel: Concerto no. 4 in F major, HWV 292
Allegro
Andante
Adagio
Allegro


George Frideric Handel: Concerto no. 2 in B flat major HWV 290
Sinfonia - A tempo ordinario e staccato - Adagio
Allegro
Adagio e staccato
Allegro ma non presto


George Frideric Handel: Concerto no. 3 in G minor HWV 291
Adagio
Allegro
Adagio
Gavotte - Allegro


George Frideric Handel: Concerto no. 6 in B flat major HWV 294
Andante allegro
Larghetto - Adagio
Allegro moderato


George Frideric Handel: Concerto no. 5 in F major HWV 293
Larghetto
Allegro
Alla Siciliana
Presto


George Frideric Handel: Concerto no. 1 in G minor HWV 289
Larghetto e staccato - Adagio
Allegro
Adagio
Andante