Notes and Editorial Reviews
While Handel's flute sonatas have received many wonderful recordings since these 1978 modern-instrument performances by flutist Paula Robison, harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper, and cellist Timothy Eddy, few ensembles sound like they're having this much fun. Listen to the virtuoso abandon with which these pros breeze through the third-movement Presto of the Op. 1 No. 9 Sonata in B minor. Their performance of the fifth-movement Alla breve is equally distinguished, where Robison and Cooper's frequent extravagant (some may feel over-the-top) use of ornamentation effectively animates the work. Their performances of the slower and more moderate movements are equally inspired. For example, in the third-movement Adagio of the first so-called
"Halle sonata" (named because Handel was believed to have composed these when he was a student there), Robison seems to approach each line as if it were a variation on the one that came before it with often witty, subtle gradations of tempo and dynamics. In fact, after repeated listenings there's not an uninspired moment throughout, and while other interpretations differ, none surpasses Robison, Cooper, and Eddy's consistently high level of involvement and musicality.
The sound is vintage 1970s stereo with Robison placed slightly to the left, Eddy on the right, and Cooper squarely in the middle. There's also a bit of period engineer knob-twisting, unnaturally attenuating and augmenting Cooper and Eddy's instruments, though fortunately these instances are minimal and do not detract from the overall excellent transfer of Vanguard's original sonics. Stoddard Lincoln and Cooper's informative and entertaining notes also have been reprinted in their entirety. This is a very welcome reissue and warmly recommended especially to those who've treasured these performances on LP but perhaps have forgotten just how good they are. [9/7/2004]
--John Greene, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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