Monday, January 17, 2011

Awards 2010: Baroque - Instrumental

Handel: Concerti Grossi op.6
Avison Ensemble/Pavlo Beznosiuk

There have been a few recordings of this music in recent years, but Fanfare's Ron Salemi unequivocally states "These discs go to the top of my list of recommended recordings of these essential works", remarking that "Pavlo Beznosiuk’s performances have a vitality and vigor that set them apart from the others... Some, maybe all, of these works may be overfamiliar to devoted Handelians, but Beznosiuk will make even the most jaded listener hear these works with renewed interest". David Vernier on Classics Today was even more enthusiastic: "We can cite individual players for their impressive effort, but when virtually everyone is performing at such a high level it doesn't seem appropriate--this is definitely a triumph of ensemble performance, where everyone is a master of the medium and the material, all of which is beautifully realized by the stunningly realistic, resoundingly vibrant sound engineering. By now you've got the picture: Essential!"
As it happens, another recording by The Avison Ensemble - of harpsichord sonatas by Charles Avison - almost made it to the list of runners-up. Instead we see more Handel, from last year's Award winners; Andreas Staier playing Bach; trios attributed to one or other of the Graun brothers; and violin concertos by little-known Italian composers on the cusp of the Classical period.

Handel: Trio sonatas op.2 & 5. Academy of Ancient Music/Richard Egarr [Harmonia Mundi]
Bach: Goldberg variations. Andreas Staier [Harmonia Mundi]
JG & CH Graun: Trios for 2 violins & basso. Les Amis de Phillippe [CPO]
"Concerto Italiano". Giuliano Carmignola; Venice Baroque Orchestra/Andrea Marcon [Archiv]

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