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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Handel: Sonatas for Violin & Basso Continuo'
Artist - The Brook Street Band

Since its formation in 1995 by Baroque cellist Tatty Theo, The Brook Street Band has rapidly established itself as one of the country’s foremost interpreter’s of George Frideric Handel’s music.

Indeed, their name comes from the street in London’s Mayfair where G.F. Handel lived and composed for most of his working life. Furthermore, the term ‘band’ was used in the 18th century to describe groups of musicians.

The Brook Street Band performs small to large scale repertoire ranging from intimate chamber music to concerts with double orchestra and choir and its various prizes include BBC Radio 3 Young Artists' Forum and the Byrne Award, given by the Handel Institute for Handel scholarship.

Ergo, The Brook Street Band's enthusiasm for the music of George Frideric Handel shines evidently through on this Handel: Sonatas for Violin & Basso Continuo recording of the nine Violin Sonatas by - or attributed to - the Baroque composer.

George Frideric Handel 1685-1759
Violin Sonata in G, HWV 358
1. I. [Allegro] (1.57); 2. II. [Adagio] (0.49); 3. III. [Allegro] (2.35); Violin Sonata in D minor, HWV 359a; 4. I. Grave (2.32); 5. II. Allegro (1.43); 6. III. Adagio (0.51); 7. IV. Allegro (2.35)
Violin Sonata in A, HWV 361
8. I. Andante (2.26); 9. II. Allegro (1.54); 10. III. Adagio (0.50); 11. IV. Allegro (2.43)
Violin Sonata in G minor, HWV 364a
12. I. Larghetto (1.56); 13. II. Allegro (1.44); 14. III. Adagio (0.41); 15. IV. Allegro (2.14)
Violin Sonata in A, HWV 372
16. I. Adagio (1.15); 17. II. Allegro (2.24); 18. III. Largo (1.14); 19. IV. Allegro (2.57)
Violin Sonata in E, HWV 373
20. I. Adagio (1.54); 21. II. Allegro (2.53); 22. III. Largo (1.35); 23. IV. Allegro (2.47)
Violin Sonata in G minor HWV 368
24. I. Andante (2.19); 25. II. Allegro (2.49); 26. III. Adagio (2.01); 27. IV. [Allegro moderato] (2.32)
Violin Sonata in F, HWV 370
28. I. Adagio (3.12); 29. II. Allegro (2.13); 30. III. Largo (3.19); 31. IV. Allegro (3.53)
Violin Sonata in D, HWV 371
32. I. Affettuoso (3.11); 33. II. Allegro (2.57); 34. III. Larghetto (2.46); 35. IV. Allegro (3.55)

Total time: 80.00

The ensembles 10th release for Avie Records compliments its critically acclaimed and award-winning discography of a wide variety of Handel's chamber music and vocal works.

Combining consummate artistry with characteristic research, The Brook Street Band lovingly bring forth nine early works composed over a span of 40 years; from the German-born Handel's early years honing his style in Italy to his later years as a leading light in London.

Recorded between the 23rd–26th of January 2018, at The Great Barn, Oxnead Hall, Norfolk, Produced (along with balance engineer and editing) by Simon Fox-Gál, and featuring Rachel Harris (baroque violin), Tatty Theo (baroque cello), and Carolyn Gibley (harpsichord), believe when I say that Handel: Sonatas for Violin & Basso Continuo is a simply soaring, breathtaking work of musical genius.

Impeccable musicianship from start to finish, these performances have a powerful stamp of authority laid down by The Brook Street Band. Their collective playing is so rhythmical, rather tuneful, at times, that the recording, overall, is so atmospheric capturing that it seemingly couldn't have been performed at any greater level.

In closing, and to my mind, The Brook Street Band play with a sparkle and shimmer that would have made old Handel himself do a wee gig. The sense of ensemble is outstanding on these period instruments, with intonation being impeccable throughout.

They still manage to capture an era so very splendidly here on this new recording and I, for one, cannot wait until they record again, in truth.

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