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CD: Buywell

Baroque Favourites
see end for review for track listing and soloist details
Brandenburg Choir
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra/Paul Dyer
rec. 1997-2009
ABC CLASSICS 476 4056 [48:26 + 41:59]

Experience Classicsonline

This is a double album compilation, with tracks selected by invitees, all of whom are mentioned by name - five pages of them! - alphabetically in the booklet. The orchestra’s artistic director Paul Dyer also made a selection, and he chose a live 2009 performance of brief excerpts from the choir and orchestra’s Mozart Requiem.
The reason for the disc is the coming of age of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra which, when it reached twenty-one, invited the selection of favourites enshrined in this twofer. It’s a charming sort of idea that will also have a rather wider appeal in the world of (mostly) Baroque Favourites, of which there is a super-abundance.
What I like about this band is its lack of gimmicks. Good tempi are set, string weight is apposite, and there are no bulges on held notes or ungainly swellings. The Allegro from the G major Brandenburg Concerto sports zesty lower strings and there’s a sane tempo for the Queen of Sheba. In a world increasingly spattered by outlandish speed record attempts on pieces like this, one can say a little prayer for Dyer and his forces. Two of the band’s wind principals shine in their contributions; Craig Hill in a live Mozart Concerto for (basset) clarinet, and Kirsten Barry in the lovely Albinoni slow movement; all Albinoni slow movements are lovely but this one is especially so.
Of the vocal soloists, I’ve reviewed the Yvonne Kenny album from which her Lascia ch’io pianga derives and I still think the ornaments are grossly overdone. Cyndia Sieden is rather screechy in her Magic Flute aria. Andreas Scholl is in a different class in Vivaldi. Sara Macliver and Belinda Montgomery make a pretty soprano pairing in Stille Nacht. There are two movements from the Four Seasons, in the very capable, though not terribly moving, hands of Elizabeth Wallfisch. The second disc explores some entertaining terrain. The Falconieri Folia has tangy percussion on board, Scholl reappears in more Vivaldi and Macliver is pure-toned in Purcell. Mina Kanaridis makes two remarkable appearances in anonymous pieces of intensely dramatic stripe. The flamenco-gypsy flourishes of the Passacaglia andaluz are amazing and the percussion and harpsichord make this somewhat wild selection a riveting one. Calm balm follows via Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen. The Mozart Requiem extracts - about four minutes in total - are lithe and exciting.
There are certainly some entertaining and enjoyable excerpts here. It’s not just for the ABO clan.

Jonathan Woolf 

CD 1

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048: III. Allegro [4:32]
George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759)
Solomon - Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (1748) [3:04]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Concerto in A major for basset clarinet in A major, K622 (1791): II. Adagio [6:23]
Tomaso ALBINONI (1671-1751)
Concerto in D minor for oboe, strings and continuo Op.9 No. 2: II. Adagio [4:23]
George Frederic HANDEL
Rinaldo - Lascia ch’io pianga (1711) [4:20]
Water Music Suite No. 3 in G major, HWV 350.(Flute Suite in G major): I. Menuet (1717) [2:38]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Die Zauberflöte - Der Hölle Rache K620 (1791) [2:55]
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Nisi Dominus RV608: IV. Cum dederit delectis suis somnum (Largo) [5:07]
Franz GRUBER (1787-1863)
Stille Nacht (Silent Night) [3:43]
Christoph Willibald von GLUCK  (1714-1787)
Orfeo ed Euridice - Dance of the Blessed Spirits (1762) [6:40]
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
The Four Seasons - concertos for violin, strings and basso continuo Op. 8, Nos 1-4 (from Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione) (1725) La primavera (Spring):I.Allegro [3:24]
CD 2
Andrea FALCONIERI (1585/6-1656)
Folia (a 3) echa para mi señora [3:58]
Salve Regina: I. Salve Regina (Andante) RV616 [3:39]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
King Arthur - Fairest Isle (1691) [4:19]
Tarantella ‘La Carpinese’ (Improvisation)
Concerto in C major for flautino and strings, RV444: III. Allegro molto [2:48]
Passacaglia andaluz (Improvisation) [4:43]
Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen [2:58]
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
The Four Seasons - concertos for violin, strings and basso continuo Op. 8, Nos 1-4 (from Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione) (1725) The Four Seasons: L’inverno (Winter): II. Largo [1:25]
George Frederic HANDEL
Jephtha -Waft Her, Angels, through the Skies HWV 790 (1750 rev. 1758) [4;20]
Concerto in G major for violin and cello: II. Andante RV516 arr. From Concerto for two violins by Jamie Hey [2:11]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Requiem - Hostias: Sanctus K. 626 (1791) [2:59 + 1:15]
Craig Hill (basset clarinet) - Mozart Clarinet Concerto
Kirsten Barry (oboe) - Albinoni and Handel Jeptha
Yvonne Kenny (soprano) - Handel Lascia
Cyndia Sieden (soprano) - Mozart Magic Flute
Andreas Scholl (counter-tenor) - Vivaldi Nisi Dominus and Salve Regina
Sara Macliver and Belinda Montgomery (sopranos) - Gruber
Hans-Dieter Michatz (transverse flute) - Gluck and Handel Water Music
Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin) - Vivaldi Four Seasons
Sara Macliver (soprano) - Purcell
Mina Kanaridis (soprano) - the Anonymous pieces
Genevieve Lacey (recorder) - Vivaldi Concerto for flautino
Lucinda Moon (violin) and Jamie Hey (cello) - Vivaldi Concerto in G major



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