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Handel - Complete Violin Sonatas / Manze, Egarr [Import]

George Frideric Handel , Andrew Manze , Richard Egarr Audio CD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, Import, 2001 $17.45  


Product Details

  • Performer: George Frideric Handel, Andrew Manze, Richard Egarr
  • Audio CD (October 9, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B00005JSK8
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,054 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sonata In D Major, Op. 1 No. 13: Affettuoso
2. Sonata In D Major, Op. 1 No. 13: Allegro
3. Sonata In D Major, Op. 1 No. 13: Larghetto
4. Sonata In D Major, Op. 1 No. 13: Allegro
5. Sonata In F Major, Op. 1 No. 12: Adagio
6. Sonata In F Major, Op. 1 No. 12: Allegro
7. Sonata In F Major, Op. 1 No. 12: Largo
8. Sonata In F Major, Op. 1 No. 12: Allegro
9. Sonata In D Minor: Grave
10. Sonata In D Minor: Allegro
11. Sonata In D Minor: Adagio
12. Sonata In D Minor: Allegro
13. Sonata In A Major, Op. 1 No. 3: Andante
14. Sonata In A Major, Op. 1 No. 3: Allegro
15. Sonata In A Major, Op. 1 No. 3: Adagio
16. Sonata In A Major, Op. 1 No. 3: Allegro
17. Sonata In G Minor, Op. 1 No. 6: Larghetto
18. Sonata In G Minor, Op. 1 No. 6: Allegro
19. Sonata In G Minor, Op. 1 No. 6: Adagio
20. Sonata In G Minor, Op. 1 No. 6: Allegro
See all 33 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

In his liner notes, Andrew Manze writes that this collection, which includes two single movements--one slow, one fast--represents all of Handel's violin sonatas, but that no one is really sure how many of them he actually wrote. No matter; they all contain wonderful music and have been loved by players and listeners since they were written. Six are well known. Two are unfamiliar, and the second of these, in G major, is quite unlike all the others: two brilliant fast movements separated by a brief, highly dramatic slow recitative. The rest are cast in the customary four-movement form, but they still have extraordinary diversity; no two of them sound alike.

Manze's program is arranged for utmost contrast, and his playing underlines the differences. He is a fabulous violinist with an effortless virtuoso technique and extraordinary bow control. He has at his disposal an incredible variety of articulation, dynamics, and nuance, which he uses to change mood, character, and expression with utmost subtlety and minimal means. He vibrates sparingly but to great tonal and emotional effect; his expressiveness ranges from driving vigor, exuberance, and headlong impetuosity to mournfulness, dramatic intensity, songful lyricism, and serenity. His rhythm is buoyant and flexible and he hesitates on certain significant upbeats in a way that is mischievous but not mannered; his tempi, fast and slow, are judicious and controlled. Both he and his pianist ornament lavishly and imaginatively in a wonderfully spontaneous, improvisatory fashion, especially in slow movements and repeats, often bursting into brilliant runs. This is "authentic" playing in every sense: faithful to the composer, the style, and the performers' passionate feeling for the music. --Edith Eisler

Review

Every once in a while a recording comes along that takes you by the scruff of the neck and forces you to come face to face with your long-held prejudices. So it is with this latest offering from Andrew Manze. Long ago, Handel's Op. 1 Sonatas ceased to work their magic for me. It has taken an inspirational recording such as this to bring about a reappraisal. And for many other listeners too, I think, this recording will prove a revelation. So often played as though they were music to satisfy a middle-brow, amateur market, Manze takes Handel's sonatas as seriously as he does Bach's. The results are astonishing. This music has never traversed so many emotional planes before. And it's not just a one-man show. Harpsichordist Richard Egarr's virtuoso continuo realizations (without sustaining cello) make for moments of real duetting. The recording itself has marvellous depth and Manze's fiddle (a Joseph Gagliano, built in Naples in 1782) is captured in a gorgeously mellow acoustic somewhere in the middle distance. As the title makes clear, this is a recording of the complete violin sonatas, not the usual run-through of the 12 of Handel's Op. 1. Many of the sonatas from Op. 1 were originally intended for wind instruments and some serious scholarly work has been necessary to weed out the authentic violin sonatas from this and several other sources. In summary, five genuine violin sonatas emerge (in D and G minor and D, G and A major), plus two promising fragments. We get all these, plus three 'rejected' violin sonatas, whose ascription to Handel may now be doubted, but not their outstanding musical quality. In his insert notes Manze tells the story of how the Italian violinist Francesco Geminiani was summoned to play before the King and chose Handel as his accompanist from heaven. It's possible that they played one of Handel's sonatas. 'If the present performers have achieved in any small measure the impossible task of impersonating two of 18th-century London's finest performers', writes Manze, 'then may the listener enjoy playing the King!'. They have, and we listeners are certainly in for a right royal treat. This is the first recording which really discovers the seeds of genius in this music. Quite simply, this is the finest recording of Handel's violin sonatas ever made. Simon Heighes -- From International Record Review - subscribe now

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
(15)
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SCHOLARS NOT PEDANTS April 28, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Andrew Manze writes nearly as well as he plays. The short essay he provides to accompany this disc is knowledgeable, clear and witty. Handel's instrumental music is a scholars' playground - he left, and very likely kept, no proper catalogue of it, and it falls to specialists to clarify as best they can which compositions going under his name are really his. What the artists here give us is 7 complete sonatas and one that is presumably complete, plus two stranded individual movements. Of the 8 'complete' efforts 5, including the presumed-complete G major, seem to be definitely by Handel. Two sets of 12 'violin' sonatas were published by one Walsh, one under his own name and the other under the pseudonym 'Roger'. The works they contain do not exactly match up, and I would have liked the contents of each plus the contents of this disc laid out as a table so as to be completely clear about the issue. The best piece of all, placed first in this recital, seems to belong in neither edition, and the most original and unusual, placed second, is of doubtful attribution.

The players' style is all-the-way authentic. Full details of the 18th century instruments, plus a fascinating picture of the violin-maker's workshop, are provided on pages 12-13 of the booklet, and Manze goes into the question of the proper constitution of the continuo or accompaniment. I found that I adapted to the sound of the violin within seconds. There's a fair amount of action-noise from the harpsichord, but authentic is authentic, so I adapted to that too. The playing seems to me beyond criticism, full of verve in the fast movements and soul in the slow, and the recorded sound is of the highest modern standard. The works themselves are beautiful and fascinating.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure, beautiful tone! June 29, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
The beauty of simplicity. Such clear, beautiful, resonant tone.
(just listen to the first four notes of the F Major!)
It takes my breath away. What a great example of what the violin CAN sound like. His ornamental/improvisational ideas are great to listen to - he certainly isn't just regurgitating the same old Handel sonatas! A refreshingly different take on the sonatas. (I for one am not interested in hearing the same old interpretation one more time!). This is unique and amazing. I'd like to hear more classical artists add their own personal touch in the way that Andrew Manze can.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not the best. December 21, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
OK, I like this recording, but I am not as blown away as everyone else. I should preface this by saying 1) I'm a fan of Manze's playing and 2) I really love these pieces. That having been said, the performances are good but not quite there for me. The pacing, phrasing, and articulation don't always bring out the inherent charm of the music, I feel. However, I do like and appreciate the natural acoustic and balance of the recording-- you feel you're actually in the chamber listening to it live.

My all-time favorite recording of these pieces is Iona Brown's (from the 1980s). The late British violinist didn't play on a period instrument, but she specialized in the baroque, and her recordings of these pieces are just beautiful. Her approach is tasteful and period-sensitive-- with pretty ornamentation-- and yet at the same time bold and assertive. There's a crispness to the playing that I haven't heard in any other recordings of these pieces. The phrasing and articulation are first-rate-- all of the little details come through-- and the balance between the violin, harpsichord, and 'cello is perfect.

Back to Manze... He is of course a top-notch baroque violinist-- I just don't think this is one of his better collections.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars baroque and roll! February 12, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
if you've ever been put off by the "miniaturising" approach some times encountered in "authentic" performances, this is the perfect antidote. manze really lays into it where appropriate, but his tone can also fall to a whisper when required - and he's in total command of every shade between.
and don't be put off by the Edith Eisler review: his "pianist" is doing a fine job on the harpsichord!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars baroque and roll! February 12, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
if you've ever been put off by the "miniaturising" approach some times encountered in "authentic" performances, this is the perfect antidote. manze really lays into it where appropriate, but his tone can also fall to a whisper when required - and he's in total command of every shade between.
and don't be put off by the Edith Eisler review: his "pianist" is doing a fine job on the harpsichord!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars okay September 29, 2008
Format:Audio CD
I found these Sonatas incredibly boring to play and Manze pumped new life into them. I think he plays them beautifully and by listening to his interpretations it has absolutely reframed the Handel Sonatas for me. I also greatly appreciated his fine liner notes. When I first began listening I had to double check to assure it was not some sort of "digital" instrument--some of the cuts sound digitalized while some sound like a violin...this is my only problem with the CD. Some simply do not sound like a violin but like a key board trying to imitate a violin (though I know this is not so!) I have tried the CD in several different sound systems and it is the same in all and the recording simply does not do Mr. Manze's playing justice. I had packed my Handel Sonatas up long ago as uninteresting and lack luster but I am now enjoying the hell out of playing them--the problem was not in the composer but in my lack of vision and inability to "get" Handel. If you hate playing the Handel Sonatas do get this recording as this will change your entire perspective
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant though too modern
For reasons that have little to do with Handel's music or even music in general Handel has suffered through history a tremendous injustice and his works have been reduced to just a... Read more
Published on March 12, 2009 by Jacques COULARDEAU
4.0 out of 5 stars get the 8 dollar version
same disc plus catalogue $8 new and less used!
Published on January 8, 2006 by DKDC
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done Performance of Handel Sonatas for Violin
Authentic is this fine recording of Handel violin sonata. From the instruments to the score, research shows that these are authentic. Read more
Published on January 8, 2003 by rodboomboom
3.0 out of 5 stars Complete Works?
I agree with the ratings above with similar number of stars. The timbre of the violin seems to have an edge to it. But my problem rests in another area. Read more
Published on October 20, 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best recording I own
Same here. I bought it under the advice of a vendor, but it's quite annoying. I could never listen to it with real pleasure. Read more
Published on October 12, 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars agreed
I agree with the majority of the reviews - these recordings are too passive, the balance is out of proportion much of the time. Read more
Published on September 24, 2002 by Jeffrey M. Bailey
4.0 out of 5 stars I disagree with disappoint..........
I like this interpretation of Handel. Seems like the 'life' has been put back in the music.
Published on August 1, 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars Unpleasant frenzy
Andrew Manze is an amazing violinist. But he's too amazing for his own good. He doesn't know when to hold back. His frantic sawing of these sonatas is really unpleasant. Read more
Published on March 2, 2002
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