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  • Handel: The Sonatas for Violin and Continuo
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Handel: The Sonatas for Violin and Continuo Import

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Audio CD, Import, May 20, 1997
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$936.84 $79.99

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Handel's violin sonatas, familiar to violinists and chamber audiences, have been inexplicably neglected on disc. These intimate, inviting sonatas show the seldom-heard side of Handel's genius. The violin sonatas span Handel's long career, from the early, Corelli-inspired G Major Sonata, HWV358 (c. 1706-8) to the exciting Sonata in D major (c. 1750). On the CD, the works are sequenced for a pleasing progression of key relationships and mood changes. The CD opens and closes with sonatas that are authentically Handel's and written expressly for violin: the Sonata in A Major (HWV371), notable for its virtuosic treatment of violin and continuo parts and its noble melodic lines. Handel's last violin sonata, it's widely considered his masterpiece in the genre. Scholars agree that some sonatas were erroneously attributed to Handel. Three of these are included in the program (HWV368, 370, and 372). "Regardless of authorship, they are very beautiful and well worth playing and hearing," cellist Rozendaal writes in the CD booklet. Another, the Sonata in E major (HWV373) is excluded, "not because of its questionable authorship but because of its inferior quality," he adds. The program also includes several fine (and authentic) pieces from the 1724-26 period: the Sonatas in d-minor (HWV359a) and g-minor (HWV364a), the a-minor Andante (HWV412) and the c-minor Allegro (HWV408) These performances are "historically informed," employing a combination of 18th-century and modern practices and equipment. Ms. Barton plays a 1617 Amati violin, in "modern" condition with steel strings. Mr. Rozendaal plays a 1740 cello in restored Baroque condition with gut strings. The bows used are reproductions of 18th-century models. Mr. Schrader plays a 1983 US-built harpsichord based on one in the museum of the Conservatoire National de Paris.

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Few contemporary performers are comfortable with the idea of adding embellishments in Baroque music. The practice is scarce even among early music specialists, and scarcer in the mainstream. Yet here is a nonspecialist violinist who plays Handel's music with tremendous temperament and flair, and also adds convincing and imaginative embellishments to all her repeats. With two excellent partners, Rachel Barton has given us an edition of Handel's Violin Sonatas that is one of the more gratifying recordings of Baroque violin music in the current catalogs. This music is hardly overexposed, so such a fine new recording is extremely welcome. --Leslie Gerber

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1. Sonata In A Major, HWV 361: Andante
2. Sonata In A Major, HWV 361: Allegro
3. Sonata In A Major, HWV 361: Adagio
4. Sonata In A Major, HWV 361: Allegro
5. Sonata in D Minor, HWV359a: Grave
6. Sonata in D Minor, HWV359a: Allegro
7. Sonata in D Minor, HWV359a: Adagio
8. Sonata in D Minor, HWV359a: Allegro
9. Sonata in F Major, HWV370: Adagio
10. Allegro
11. Sonata in F Major, HWV370: Largo
12. Allegro
13. Sonata in G Major, HWV358: Allegro
14. Sonata in G Major, HWV358: Adagio
15. Allegro
16. Sonata in G Minor, HWV364a: Larghetto
17. Sonata in G Minor, HWV364a: Allegro
18. Sonata in G Minor, HWV364a: Adagio
19. Sonata in G Minor, HWV364a: Allegro
20. Allegro in C Minor, HWV408
See all 33 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Performer: David Schrader
  • Composer: George Frederick Handel
  • Audio CD (May 20, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Cedille
  • ASIN: B0000018ZL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,567 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By klavierspiel VINE VOICE on April 5, 2001
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.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Dyer on January 22, 2003
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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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By cadgenottosh on June 11, 2005
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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