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Handel: Keyboard Suites No 5-8 / Fisher


Release Date: 04/14/2015 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573397   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Philip Edward Fisher
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

These keyboard pieces are just so agreeably written, the notes falling so easily under the fingers, the lines flowing so naturally, the melodies and harmonies so, well, Handelian, who wouldn’t love to play them–or hear them? And because of this it doesn’t seem to matter which competent pianist (and the piano is really the way to go here) does the honors–however, Philip Edward Fisher is an especially accomplished interpreter and more than able advocate for pieces that inexplicably don’t get the respect they deserve.

For some reason it’s been five years since the release of Fisher’s Volume 1 traversal of the first four of the eight suites known as “the eight great”, which colleague Jed Distler described as “an absorbing listen”
Read more and “provocative” and “inspired”. The same descriptors hold true here, driven by Fisher’s straightforward, discreetly ornamented, and clearly articulated interpretations of some of Handel’s most ingratiating and memorable keyboard inventions–including the famous E major suite No. 5 that concludes with a remarkable variations movement known today (but never titled by Handel) as “The Harmonious Blacksmith” (do yourself a favor and listen to the Swingle Singers’ faithful and very exciting version).

My long-time favorite recording of Handel keyboard suites–a selection that includes several of the “eight great” pieces–features Keith Jarrett (ECM) in somewhat more sharply articulated interpretations in a dryer, more close-up acoustic. I’m still a fan of those–Jarrett is a cool, capable master of the clear, simple, unadorned expression that defines one approach to these pieces, but Fisher employs just that slight bit of lyricism–more legato in this movement, a tiny bit of rubato there, a dynamic swell or fade in this or that phrase–that transforms these works from clever inventions to more deeply involving, affective performance pieces.

Fisher gives us big drama in movements such as the Prélude and Largo of the F-sharp minor Suite, makes it impossible not to join the dance in the concluding Gigue of the F minor, and makes us want to linger even longer over the gentle, mellifluous, caressing melodies and ingratiating harmonies of the Allemandes from the E major and F minor Suites. It all adds up to an hour of easy, happy listening–whether your interest is foreground or background. And the sound, from Symphony Hall in Birmingham, UK, gives Fisher’s Steinway plenty of space while allowing the listener to hear every detail. Strongly recommended.

-- David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Suite for Harpsichord in E major, HWV 430 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Philip Edward Fisher (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
Date of Recording: 09/15/2009 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK 
Length: 12 Minutes 51 Secs. 
2.
Suite for Harpsichord in F sharp minor, HWV 431 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Philip Edward Fisher (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
Date of Recording: 09/15/2009 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK 
Length: 9 Minutes 17 Secs. 
3.
Suite for Harpsichord in G minor, HWV 432 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Philip Edward Fisher (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
Date of Recording: 09/15/2009 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK 
Length: 21 Minutes 33 Secs. 
4.
Suite for Harpsichord in F minor, HWV 433 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Philip Edward Fisher (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
Date of Recording: 09/15/2009 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK 
Length: 13 Minutes 34 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Lovely Disc August 8, 2015 By Susan J. (Charleston, IL) See All My Reviews "I bought this set of Handel keyboard suites because it includes the No. 5 in E major (HMV 430) which I do not have in piano and I have to be in a 'certain' mood to listen to harpsichord music, although it has its charms. At any rate, this is an excellent disc. Decades ago I bought the Keith Jarrett disc, and I enjoy difference between Mr. Fisher's and Mr. Jarrett's interpretation. If you like Handel keyboard suites, you will like this disc." Report Abuse
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