Anyone performing handel’s Concertos Op. 3 has to tackle a basic problem – the musical text. the edition published by John Walsh in 1734 is by no means perfect, and is regarded with musicological head-scratching. there are no complete autograph manuscripts to help show us the way with these works. today Walsh is generally held in low esteem, criticised for shoddy editions, and equally shoddy business practices. I believe there is more value and trust in these texts, and in the man, than is usually given credit.
Perhaps with a fresh look at the hugely important set of relationships in handel’s London life – those with the various publishers of his scores – we can unearth something more musically positive. By far the most crucial and interesting collaboration for us is that which handel formed with the firm of John Walsh, and which spanned handel’s entire time in England. the story of the Walshes and the early English publications of handel is essential to gain some understanding of the worrisome text of Op. 3.
Handel and the Walsh Publishing Dynasty
The 3 documents that preface these notes show the bare- faced, public facts behind a perhaps much more juicy, private story of the relationship between handel and two generations of the music publishers both named John Walsh. It is a curious fact that although handel and the Walshes collaborated for nearly 5 decades, not one letter between them appears to have survived. the untold story then, particularly for the interesting years just before handel’s Royal Privilege ran out in 1734, can only be fantasized about.
Total time: 01:07:49
Meitner DSD AD/DA
|Original Recording Format|
Brad Michel, Chris Barrett
Brad Michel, Chris Barrett
St. John's Smith Square, London England
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||May 3, 2014|
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“The playing throught is most excellent: clean, crisp, transparent, and flowing, but judiciously paced with natural phrasing and dynamics. The soloist are first-rate, the balance is exemplary.”
Egarr’s Op.3 ranks among the best. He takes the listener’s ears on a tour of Op.3’s orchestral interiors. More than most recordings, on Egarr’s the strings are kept from dominating the sound, to reveal a new range of shifting colors and highlights seconded by the slightly diffused, timbre-flattering acoustic of the London recording venue, St. John’s, Smith Square.
The Academy of Ancient Music is in world-beating form once more with this magnificent Handel disc. Egarr and the musicians play with dynamism and warmth which suggests that Egarr’s tenure with this band is going to be a rewarding one. Long may it last.
Sparkles with character and invention.
BBC Radio 3
I can’t think of a great deal that would improve this package: performances are stylish and polished; the recordings are a beauty; and Egarr’s notes are exemplary.
International Record Review
“For those of us who have always secretly preferred the colourful, unruly and slightly raffish qualities of Op.3 to the staid perfection of Op.6 this magnificent recording is both a vindication and an unfailing delight.”
“One of the nicest things about these performances is that Egarr makes no effort to homogenize what remains a wildly varied selection of movement types and formal structures. Just the opposite: he presents this music as a riot of color and individualized character. The whole production is superbly engineered and presented with Harmonia Mundi’s usual care for every detail of production. It doesn’t get any better.”
BBC Music Magazine
A performance which is bold, confident, and revelling in the colours of the added wind-oboes, recorders, flute and a buzz of Baroque bassoons. Egarr provides a beautifully fluent organ ‘improvisation’. Playing throughout is technically superb. The solo oboe and violin duet together in garlands of ornamentation with nonchalant, unstudied ease. Multi-channel reproduction bathes it in ambient resonance while retaining clarity across the three-dimensional aural stage. Not to be missed.
The Boston Globe
It’s the first in a planned series of Handel recordings, and we can hope that all of them have this set’s fresh, vibrant energy. The use of winds in these works was particularly novel, and the academy’s players are superb throughout.
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