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Handel: The Eight Great Suites / Lisa Smirnova


Release Date: 01/24/2012 
Label:  Ecm   Catalog #: 001641002  
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lisa Smirnova
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


My previous favorite recording of this repertoire was by Keith Jarrett--also on ECM, from 1995; and it still is. However, this new release includes all eight of the 1720 suites, whereas Jarrett's program offered only four (plus three other works). So now I'm glad to have both of these, which are not only complementary, but that bring welcome attention to these gems that, especially compared to Bach's keyboard oeuvre, are strangely neglected. Give this program 10 minutes and you'll not only be hooked on Handel's catchy themes and contrapuntal wizardry, but you'll be wow-ed by Lisa Smirnova's commanding, fluid, captivating technical display, and by the uninhibited color and characterful expression she
Read more elicits from her modern piano (the identity and specifications of which unfortunately are not identified in the liner notes--which, by the way, are a reconditioned version of Uwe Schweikert's excellent original notes for Jarrett's recording).

Russian-born/Austria-based Smirnova takes on these pieces as if they are giants of the repertoire--and they really are, and she folds them into the big-boned body of the modern piano as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Her playing particularly exploits the bold bass-register resonances, leaving no doubt as to these works' power to excite. This set contains two CDs, but you will wish there were more--and we can only hope that Smirnova and ECM will go on to record the rest of Handel's remarkable keyboard output. Until then, you shouldn't even consider missing this excellent release.

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

1. Suite for Harpsichord in G minor, HWV 432 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lisa Smirnova (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
2. Suite for Harpsichord in F sharp minor, HWV 431 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lisa Smirnova (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
3. Suite for Harpsichord in F minor, HWV 433 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lisa Smirnova (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
4. Suite for Harpsichord in F major, HWV 427 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lisa Smirnova (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
5. Suite for Harpsichord in E minor, HWV 438 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lisa Smirnova (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
6. Suite for Harpsichord in E minor, HWV 429 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lisa Smirnova (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
7. Suite for Harpsichord in E major, HWV 430 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lisa Smirnova (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
8. Suite for Harpsichord in A major, HWV 426 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lisa Smirnova (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 

Featured Sound Samples

Harpsichord Suite in E, HWV 430 "The Harmonious Blacksmith": IV. Air - Double 1-5
Harpsichord Suite in F, HWV 427: III. Adagio

Sound Samples

Harpsichord Suite Set I No.2 in F major, HWV 427: Adagio
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.2 in F major, HWV 427: Allegro
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.2 in F major, HWV 427: Adagio
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.2 in F major, HWV 427: Allegro
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.8 in F minor, HWV 433: Prélude
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.8 in F minor, HWV 433: Allegro
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.8 in F minor, HWV 433: Allemande
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.8 in F minor, HWV 433: Courante
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.8 in F minor, HWV 433: Gigue
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.4 in E minor, HWV 429: Allegro
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.4 in E minor, HWV 429: Allemande
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.4 in E minor, HWV 429: Courante
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.4 in E minor, HWV 429: Sarabande
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.4 in E minor, HWV 429: Gigue
Harpsichord Suite No.5 in E HWV 430 "The Harmonious Blacksmith": Prélude
Harpsichord Suite No.5 in E HWV 430 "The Harmonious Blacksmith": Allemande
Harpsichord Suite No.5 in E HWV 430 "The Harmonious Blacksmith": Courante
Harpsichord Suite No.5 in E HWV 430 "The Harmonious Blacksmith": Air - Double 1-5
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.3 in D minor HWV 428: Prélude
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.3 in D minor HWV 428: Allegro
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.3 in D minor HWV 428: Allemande
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.3 in D minor HWV 428: Courante
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.3 in D minor HWV 428: Air - Double 1-5
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.3 in D minor HWV 428: Presto
Harpsichord Suite No.6 in F sharp minor HWV 431: Prélude
Harpsichord Suite No.6 in F sharp minor HWV 431: Largo
Harpsichord Suite No.6 in F sharp minor HWV 431: Allegro
Harpsichord Suite No.6 in F sharp minor HWV 431: Gigue
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.1 in A major, HWV 426: Prélude
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.1 in A major, HWV 426: Allemande
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.1 in A major, HWV 426: Courante
Harpsichord Suite Set I No.1 in A major, HWV 426: Gigue
Harpsichord Suite No.7 in G minor HWV 432: Ouverture
Harpsichord Suite No.7 in G minor HWV 432: Andante
Harpsichord Suite No.7 in G minor HWV 432: Allegro
Harpsichord Suite No.7 in G minor HWV 432: Sarabande
Harpsichord Suite No.7 in G minor HWV 432: Gigue
Harpsichord Suite No.7 in G minor HWV 432: Passacaille

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Great recordings of the Eight Great Suites! August 30, 2013 By Peter K. (Fort Collins, CO) See All My Reviews "These Handel suites respond beautifully to the modern piano in the hands of this sensitive master of Baroque style. A wonderful recording that I have played over and over since it arrived." Report Abuse
 Great great eight suites February 16, 2013 By S Cohenroellvaneyck (SOUTH WENTWORTHVILLE, NSW) See All My Reviews "These musical suites are uncannily sweet, fragile pieces are played with tlc, slower pieces with seriousness but never heavyhanded. Here is a spirit like swiftness, fast pieces are like dancing children, petulant, baroque style embellishments are of the best, elegant, charming and curly. I am playing 4 or five pieces at a time in sequence to enjoy it to the fullest. I m enchanted by this way of playing and I did not know of this style of GF Haendel. The hands of this performer are like magic. listen to it!" Report Abuse
 Surprise! May 25, 2012 By Joan W. (Vancouver, BC) See All My Reviews "I heard one of these suites on the radio and was amazed to find out that Handel had written it. It wasn't a sound that I expected from him. What a wonderful surprise. These two CD's not only have really great music, but the playing and sound is definitely five star." Report Abuse
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