£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

All Your Cares Beguile - Songs & Sonatas from Baroque London
George Frideric HANDEL (1685/1759)
Acis and Galatea (HWV 49): Sinfonia [3:03]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
Music for a while (Z 583/2) [3:34]
Fantasia upon one note (Z 745) [3:06]
The Faery Queen (Z 629): Dance of the Chinese Man and Woman [4:12]
Nicola MATTEIS (?-after 1713)
Passagio rotto [2:43]
Fantasia [2:21]
Johann Christoph PEPUSCH (1667-1752)
Sonata in g minor, op. 2,12 [9:07]
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757)
Sonata in G (K 22) [2:38]
Sonata in a minor (K 3) [3:49]
Sonata in d minor (K 18) [4:19]
Francesco Maria VERACINI (1690-1768)
Sonata in d minor, op. 2,12 [16:05]
Thomas Augustine ARNE (1710-1778)
The Tempest: Where the bee sucks [1:56]
George Frideric HANDEL
Giulio Cesare (HWV 17): V'adoro pupille [5:41]
Sonata in F (HWV 392) [12:44]
Martin Davids (violin), David Yearsley (organ)
rec. 15-17 May 2006, Sage Chapel, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., USA. DDD
MUSICA OMNIA MO0111 [75:26]

Experience Classicsonline



From the late 17th century onwards England, and especially London, developed into one of the main centres of music in Europe. Musicians from various countries settled there and looked around for employment. Others just passed through, displaying their skills in public concerts and then leaving again for another country. This disc presents music by some composers whose music was performed in "baroque London".

One of the first immigrants was Nicola Matteis, born in Naples and entering England around 1670. He astonished audiences by his virtuosity on the violin and published some books with pieces for unaccompanied violin. These are expressions of his sometimes bizarre imagination. Before the turn of the century Matteis's example was followed by Johann Christoph Pepusch (not ‘Johann Christian’ as the track-list says) who was from Prussia and entered England in 1697. Here he developed into a respected composer. His oeuvre has been overshadowed by his involvement in the performance of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera in which the Italian opera was ridiculed.

The success of this opera, first performed in 1728, contributed to the troubles of George Frideric Handel, who settled in London in 1712 and became the main composer of Italian operas. Until the late 1720s he was very successful in this department. The fact that he was also invited to compose music for royal and state occasions bears witness to his dominant position in the English music scene. His popularity also resulted in arrangements of arias and instrumental pieces from his operas. His chamber music was also much sought after.

Francesco Maria Veracini was one of those musicians who just passed through in the 1730s. He was from Italy and travelled through Europe as a performer on the violin. He wasn't only known for his virtuosity, but also for his arrogance. Charles Burney wrote that "Veracini was so foolishly vainglorious as frequently to boast that there was but one God, and one Veracini". This judgement didn't hold him back from acknowledging that he was "the first, or at least one of the first, violinists of Europe".

Domenico Scarlatti never visited England, but his music was very popular there. Only one collection of sonatas for keyboard was published in his lifetime, and it was not by chance that it was printed in London. The three sonatas on the programme are from this collection.

In addition to music by foreigners, pieces by two native English composers are added. Henry Purcell was the most celebrated English composer before the era of Handel, and his music was held in high regard even in the early decades of the 18th century. In some of his works Handel was clearly inspired by him. Thomas Arne is the best-known English composer of the generation after Handel. He had the bad luck to be overshadowed by immigrants, first by Handel, and after his death by two other native Germans, Johann Christian Bach and Carl Friedrich Abel. Even so, he considerably contributed to the music for the theatre.

It is not that easy to give a fair judgement of this disc. From which angle should one look at it? First of all, nearly the whole programme consists of arrangements of some sort. Only the two pieces by Matteis are played in the scoring intended by the composer: violin without accompaniment. The three sonatas by Scarlatti were written for harpsichord which doesn't exclude a performance at the organ. The sonatas by Handel, Pepusch and Veracini one is probably not inclined to call 'arrangements'. The performance of the basso continuo in chamber music at the organ is certainly an option, although it seems highly unlikely that organs were used in public performances. Moreover, the organ used here is more of the format of a modest church organ than of an instrument used in private rooms where chamber music was usually played. As David Yearsley is not afraid to explore the full powers of the organ the basso continuo part is more prominent than with a harpsichord or a positive. From that perspective performances like on this disc can be considered 'arrangements'.

From an historical perspective there is nothing wrong with arrangements. Handel frequently arranged music by colleagues, and his own music was also often arranged by others. But if you are looking for arrangements as they were in the time of the composer performances of vocal pieces by Purcell, Handel and Arne with organ and violin are not all that plausible. Whether the interpreters care about this I don't know. David Yearsley ends his liner-notes thus: "We make our arrangements of these songs and sonatas in the tradition of opportunistic adaptation Handel so brilliantly and unapologetically cultivated".

So let us say that these arrangements are partly unhistorical, even if they are played with period instruments. The ultimate question then is: do they work? The three sonatas by Scarlatti work pretty well, although the second (K3) is not that convincing: the repeated descending figure doesn't come off very well, and can only be realised by using a slower tempo than would be ideal. In the sonatas for violin and bc the organ is often too dominant. But the performances as such also leave something to be desired. The fast movements are mostly done well, although the andante from Handel's ‘Sonata in F’ is played like an adagio. The slow movements are generally too flat, with far too little dynamic gradation.

The arrangements of the vocal pieces are quite odd, and I really didn't like them. An opera aria with full-blown organ and a violin is very strange. The short figures at the line "till the snakes drop from her head" from Purcell's Music for a while are very unnatural. The Fantasia upon one note is even more curious: the 'one note' is played here by the violin, with the organ performing the other parts. This way the subject of this piece is singled out in a way the composer obviously did not intend. An interesting question is whether the mean-tone temperament which leads here to severe dissonants, is in line with Purcell's intentions, even though this temperament was common in Purcell's time.

Taking all things into consideration, I find this recording not very helpful in painting a portrait of the multi-coloured London music scene in the early 18th century. From a historical perspective the performances are questionable, and musically they are largely unsatisfying.

Johan van Veen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.