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Handel At Home / London Handel Players


Release Date: 11/21/2006 
Label:  Somm   Catalog #: 55   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Katherine SharmanOliver WebberLaurence CummingsPeter Collyer,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HANDEL AT HOME London Handel Players (period instruments) SOMM 055 (69:25)



Flute Concerto in g , HWV 287. Selections from Alcina, Solomon, and Semele


Of the several recently released CDs by the London Handel Players, this was both Adrian Butterfield’s and my unhesitating choice for review. It contains a Read more delightful program of familiar music by Handel, most of which was arranged for amateurs and published by John Walsh during Handel’s lifetime. As flutist Rachel Brown explains in her liner notes, before the advent of recordings, if you wanted to enjoy music at home that you might have heard the night before at the King’s Theatre or Covent Garden, you pretty much had to take flute or violin in hand and play it yourself. You gathered up a few talented friends and “had a go” at one of the aforementioned Walsh arrangements. On the present CD, each group of excerpts begins with its respective overture and is followed by three or four arias from the same opera or oratorio. In the case of Solomon and Semele , a couple of dances are thrown in for good measure. The Walsh arrangements, mostly for flute or violin and continuo, are what Rachel Brown uses as her starting point; she augments and varies them to fit the makeup of the group, which in addition to Brown and her husband, violinist Butterfield, includes violinist Oliver Webber, violist Peter Collyer, cellist Katherine Sharman, and harpsichordist Laurence Cummings.


The only piece that falls outside the province of opera and oratorio is the Flute Concerto in G Minor, best known to modern audiences as an oboe concerto. Handel probably composed this during his wind-playing days at the Hamburg Opera, sometime during 1704 or 1705. I’m somewhat chagrined to say that the piece works equally well on the flute, despite having been the exclusive property of oboists since the late 1800s. When the music is as beautifully performed as it is here, it’s hard to imagine going back to the oboe. Rachel Brown has a solid, non-breathy tone, crisp articulation, and an expressive manner that set her apart from the majority of traverso players currently before the public. The one-on-a-part string accompaniment is the ideal complement.


There is an additional component to this recording that adds immeasurably to its worth: a feeling of camaraderie, of relaxed music-making among friends. You might encounter this sort of phenomenon at a really good live performance, but it’s very rare on CD. The impression is enhanced by the super-realistic recording, which presents the group in a highly believable soundstage with left-to-right and front-to-back dimensionality. Another plus is how faithfully the harpsichord has been captured. Often this instrument is subsumed in the overall sound, but here its harmonic contribution is clearly discernable.


Compilation discs of Baroque chamber music tend to come and go, but I’ll wager that this one has staying power. Along with the group’s excellent renditions of the op. 2 and op. 5 trio sonatas, this is a CD that I plan to revisit often.


FANFARE: Christopher Brodersen [1/2012]

-------

Handel wrote very little for the flute. Indeed, when he wrote the indication ‘flauto’ in his scores he meant recorder. His use of ‘traversa’ is limited to a few sonatas and an occasional movement in operas and oratorios. However, the flute was a popular instrument among amateur musicians in Handel’s London. The publisher John Walsh capitalised on this when printing arrangements of arias and overtures that could be played by either flute or violin, with continuo accompaniment. The London Handel Players take inspiration from Walsh’s editions, with flautist Rachel Brown restoring violin parts to some favourite pieces from Alcina, Solomon and Semele. ‘Beneath the vine’ (Solomon), ‘Verdi prati’ (Alcina), and ‘O sleep, why dost thou leave me?’ (Semele) receive particularly beautiful, sensitive interpretations.

The London Handel Players often capture the elusive dramatic and orchestral context of the arias in these chamber arrangements. The captivating heart of the disc is Brown’s intimately whispered ‘Un momento di contento’ (Alcina) accompanied only by Laurence Cummings’s lyrical harpsichord-playing. Brown also performs a recently rediscovered version of the Oboe Concerto in G minor that ascribes the solo part to either oboe or flute.

The six musicians featured on this disc are all principal players of the London Handel Orchestra. Their consummate musicianship is consistently delightful: sparkling violin-playing (often with two players in perfect unison) and superb continuo contributions are just as impressive as Brown’s poetic solos.

-- David Vickers, Gramophone [9/2006]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Alcina, HWV 34: Overture by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Katherine Sharman (Cello), Oliver Webber (Violin), Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord),
Peter Collyer (Viola), Adrian Butterfield (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Walsh.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
2.
Alcina, HWV 34: Tornami a vagheggiar by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord), Katherine Sharman (Cello), Peter Collyer (Viola),
Oliver Webber (Violin), Adrian Butterfield (Violin), Rachel Brown (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: John Walsh; Rachel Brown.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
3.
Alcina, HWV 34: Musette by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Katherine Sharman (Cello), Peter Collyer (Viola), Oliver Webber (Violin),
Adrian Butterfield (Violin), Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Walsh.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
4.
Alcina, HWV 34: Menuett by George Frideric Handel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
5.
Alcina, HWV 34: Verdi prati by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord), Katherine Sharman (Cello), Adrian Butterfield (Violin),
Oliver Webber (Violin), Peter Collyer (Viola), Rachel Brown (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: John Walsh; Rachel Brown.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
6.
Alcina, HWV 34: Un momento di contento by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord), Rachel Brown (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Walsh.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
7.
Solomon, HWV 67: Overture by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1749; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Walsh.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
8.
Solomon, HWV 67: What tho' I trace each herb and flower by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord), Katherine Sharman (Cello), Peter Collyer (Viola),
Oliver Webber (Violin), Adrian Butterfield (Violin), Rachel Brown (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1749; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: John Walsh; Rachel Brown.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
9.
Solomon, HWV 67: Beneath the vine by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rachel Brown (Flute), Oliver Webber (Violin), Peter Collyer (Viola),
Katherine Sharman (Cello), Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord), Adrian Butterfield (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1749; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: John Walsh; Rachel Brown.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
10.
Solomon, HWV 67: Will the sun forget to streak by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord), Adrian Butterfield (Violin), Oliver Webber (Violin),
Peter Collyer (Viola), Katherine Sharman (Cello), Rachel Brown (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1749; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: John Walsh; Rachel Brown.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
11.
Semele, HWV 58: O Sleep, why dost thou leave me? by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Katherine Sharman (Cello), Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord), Rachel Brown (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: John Walsh; Rachel Brown.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
12.
Semele, HWV 58: Myself I shall adore by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Adrian Butterfield (Violin), Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord), Katherine Sharman (Cello),
Peter Collyer (Viola), Oliver Webber (Violin), Rachel Brown (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: John Walsh; Rachel Brown.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
13.
Concerto for Oboe no 3 in G minor, HWV 287 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rachel Brown (Flute), Adrian Butterfield (Violin), Oliver Webber (Violin),
Peter Collyer (Viola), Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord), Katherine Sharman (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1703-1705; Hamburg, Germany 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 9 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
14.
Semele, HWV 58: Gavotte by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord), Rachel Brown (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Walsh.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 
15.
Semele, HWV 58: No, no I'll take no less by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Adrian Butterfield (Violin), Katherine Sharman (Cello), Laurence Cummings (Harpsichord),
Rachel Brown (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Handel Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1744; London, England 
Venue:  Walthamstow, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: John Walsh.
Walthamstow, England (11/16/2005 - 11/18/2005) 

Sound Samples

Oboe Concerto No. 3 in G Minor, HWV 287 (arr. for flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): I. Grave
Oboe Concerto No. 3 in G Minor, HWV 287 (arr. for flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): II. Allegro
Oboe Concerto No. 3 in G Minor, HWV 287 (arr. for flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): III. Sarabande: Largo
Oboe Concerto No. 3 in G Minor, HWV 287 (arr. for flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): IV. Allegro
Alcina, HWV 34 (arr. J. Walsh for flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): Overture
Alcina, HWV 34 (arr. J. Walsh and R. Brown flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): Act II: Verdi Prati
Alcina, HWV 34 (arr. J. Walsh and R. Brown flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): Musette
Alcina, HWV 34 (arr. J. Walsh for flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): Act III: Un momento di contento
Alcina, HWV 34 (arr. J. Walsh and R. Brown flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): Act I: Tornami a vagheggiar
Solomon, HWV 67 (arr. J. Walsh for harpsichord): Solomon, HWV 67: Part I: Overture (arr. J. Walsh for harpsichord)
Solomon, HWV 67 (arr. J. Walsh and R. Brown for flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): Part I: What tho' I trace
Solomon, HWV 67 (arr. J. Walsh and R. Brown for flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): Part II: Beneath the vine
Solomon, HWV 67 (arr. J. Walsh and R. Brown for flute, 2 violins, viola, cello and harpsichord): Part III: Will the sun forget to streak
Semele, HWV 58 (arr. J. Walsh and R. Brown for flute, 2 violins, cello and harpsichord): Act III: Myself I shall adore
Semele, HWV 58 (arr. J. Walsh and R. Brown for flute, 2 violins, cello and harpsichord): Act II: O sleep, why dost thou leave me?
Semele, HWV 58 (arr. J. Walsh for flute, violin, cello and harpsichord): Gavotte
Semele, HWV 58 (arr. J. Walsh for flute, violin, cello and harpsichord): Act III: No, no, I'll take no less

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