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Handel: Oboe Concertos 1-3, Concerti A Due Cori 1-3 / Marriner

Handel / Lord / Academy Of St Martin / Marriner
Release Date: 04/10/2009 
Label:  Eloquence   Catalog #: 4801388  
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Roger Lord
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Import   
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



HANDEL Oboe Concertos: 1 No. 1; No. 2a; No. 3. Largo in F , HWV 302b. Alcina: Overture; Ballet Music. Ariodante: Overture; Ballet Music. Il pastor fido: Pour les Chausseurs I & II. Berenice: Overture. Solomon: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. Read more class="ARIAL12b">Concertos for 2 Choirs, HWV 332–334. Overture in D, HWV 337/339. Concerto grosso, “Alexander’s Feast” Neville Marriner, cond; Roger Lord (ob); 1 Academy of St. Martin in the Fields DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 1388 (2 CDs: 154:04)


These performances of Handel orchestral music have mostly been available in various combinations on LP and CD. The exception is Marriner’s recording of ballet music from Alcina, Ariodante , and Il pastor fido , which has not all been available on CD before now. The recordings were made from 1964 through 1979. All of the performances display the qualities we have come to expect from Marriner and his orchestra; tempos are lively without being rushed, and the orchestra plays with precision.


The least-successful performances are the three oboe concertos. They are from 1965, and the string-playing is not as crisp as later recordings that seem to be more influenced by period-instrument practice. But the recording is very similar to the recording conducted by Raymond Leppard of these three concertos. Roger Lord’s solo contribution is good, although he is more conservative in ornamentation than Heinz Holliger for Leppard. The Largo in F is a variation of the opening movement of the Second Concerto, with the oboe replaced by two horns. The four-movement Berenice Overture, even though recorded the year before the oboe concertos, has string-playing that is crisper than in the concertos. I doubt that I have ever heard a bad performance of the Sinfonia from act III of Solomon , commonly known as “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba,” but not called that by Handel. It must be the most over-recorded Handel work in the catalog; arkivmusic.com lists 138 recordings, and collectors probably have a few of them, as I do.


Three operas Handel composed in the 1730s after his move to the theater in Covent Garden are enriched by ballet music because of the fortuitous presence of a French dance troupe. Marriner gives us the overtures and most of the ballet music from Ariodante and Alcina (the track list is not a good guide to what is included from each opera), but he omits three dances in total from the two operas. The performances are very good, and there is little competition outside of complete performances of the operas. Mackerras offers the Ariodante ballet music and Dream Ballet from Alcina on Novalis; Nemeth on Hungaroton and Gardiner on Warner offer the complete Alcina music. I have not heard the Mackerras, but the other two, especially the Gardiner, are worth acquiring, especially for those who prefer period instruments in this repertoire.


The Concerti a due cori , compositions for two choirs of wind instruments and the usual string orchestra, were written for performance between the acts of Handel’s oratorios, as were the organ concertos and the Concerti grossi, op. 6. In the First Concerto, the two choirs consist of oboes and bassoons; horns are added for the other two. They are engaging works, combining newly composed music with music from Messiah, Belshazzar, Semele, Ottone, Esther, Alexander Balus, Lotario, The Occasional Oratorio , and Partenope . I have long enjoyed this music in performances by Leppard on Philips, but that recording is currently unavailable. Marriner’s recording is similar in performance and equally worth having. There are a number of recordings giving the two works with horns. For all three, on modern instruments both Pommer and Mackerras have been praised (I am not familiar with either).


The Overture in D was once considered to be a single composition, but is now believed to be two separate works. The Concerto Grosso in C was written for performance with Alexander’s Feast . Marriner performs both well. On modern instruments, both can be found with Leppard’s recording of the oboe concertos in performances of equal merit.


For those who do not demand period instruments in Baroque music, this compilation provides much enjoyable music in very good performances at a reasonable price. What more do you need?


FANFARE: Ron Salemi
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Oboe no 1 in B flat major, HWV 301 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Roger Lord (Oboe)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1740; London, England 
2.
Concerto for Oboe no 2 in B flat major, HWV 302a by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Roger Lord (Oboe)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1740; London, England 
3.
Concerto for Oboe no 3 in G minor, HWV 287 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Roger Lord (Oboe)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1703-1705; Hamburg, Germany 
4.
Largo for Oboe, Horn, Strings and Basso Continuo in F major, HWV 302b by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1737-1738; London, England 
5.
Alcina, HWV 34: Overture by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
6.
Alcina, HWV 34: Ballet Music by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
7.
Ariodante, HWV 33: Overture by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; London, England 
8.
Ariodante, HWV 33: Ballet Music by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; London, England 
9.
Il pastor fido, HWV 8a: Pour les chasseurs by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
10.
Berenice, Regina d'Egitto, HWV 38: Overture by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1737; London, England 
11.
Solomon, HWV 67: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1749; London, England 
12.
Concerto a due cori no 1 in B major, HWV 332 by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1746-1747; England 
13.
Concerto a due cori no 2 in F major, HWV 333 by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1746-1747; London, England 
14.
Concerto a due cori no 3 in F major, HWV 334 by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1746-1747; London, England 
15.
Overture in D major, HWV 337/338 by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: England 
16.
Concerto grosso in C major, HWV 318 "Alexander's Feast" by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1736; London, England 

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