One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
Google seem to have closed down local search engines. You can use this FreeFind engine but it is not so comprehensive
You can go to Google itself and enter the search term followed by the search term.


International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Sinfonia in B flat major, HWV339 [11:07]
Trio Sonata in F major, HWV392 [12:09]
Trio Sonata in B flat major, HWV50a ‘Esther’ [7:29]
Trio Sonata in G minor, HWV393 [10:13]
Trio Sonata in E major, HWV394 [10:58]
Trio Sonata in C minor, HWV386a [11:19]
Trio Sonata in C major, HWV403 ‘Saul’ [9:22]
The Brook Street Band (Rachel Harris and Farran Scott (baroque violins), Tatty Theo (baroque cello), Carolyn Gibley (harpsichord))
rec. 7-10 September 2015 in Raveningham Church, Norfolk
AVIE AV2357 [76:10]

The Brook Street Band have previously recorded the two sets of Trios Sonatas which Handel published in his lifetime (opp. 2 and 5 - review). On this disc they turn to a handful of miscellaneous works which are fascinating both for the musical enjoyment they afford and the contexts in which they stand in Handel’s life and work. As carefully documented in the informative liner notes by the group’s cellist, Tatty Theo, the selection here originates from various periods of the composer’s career, including its earliest stage. Handelians will recognise some of the material that was mined by later for other compositions – the example that audiences more widely are likely to recognise is the opening of the early Sonata or Sinfonia in B flat HWV339 (c.1704-6) which relates to a part of the same keyboard suite which Brahms used for his ‘Handel’ Variations.

The Sonatas are played with delightful ease and elegance, serving the dictates of the music itself rather than any particular ideas of the performers’ own which they may harbour or want to press. Their tempos are judicious such that the potentially perilous fast runs and halting repeated figure in the final Allegro of HWV392 are finely turned and the joyous syncopations of HWV394’s second movement bound along. The expressive effect of the Adagio from HWV392 is subtly emphasised by the subtle use of rubato, and the quintessentially Handelian melodic twists and chromaticisms of the first movement of HWV386a in C minor are rightly brought out, but not exaggerated.

The violinists avoid vibrato in their performances such that sometimes the sound may sound somewhat thin, but somehow they do capture a more glistening and regal tone in the two Sonatas, HWV50a and 403, which relate to the overtures of the oratorios Esther and Saul. The only other criticism one may level is that in an otherwise finely balanced recording, it does not always reveal much spatial differentiation between the two violins as they pass melodies or motifs to each other. However, at other times this works to the music’s advantage in occasioning a lovely integration of texture, such as in the Adagio of HWV339 where their sighing suspensions are brought into exquisite focus. In all other respects, this is an exemplary recording where Handel’s inexhaustible inventiveness, even on a smaller, intimate scale, spring wonderfully into life.

Curtis Rogers



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger