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Handel Concerti Grossi - The Avison Ensemble - Sunday Times


08 August 2010
The Sunday Times
Hugh Canning

The Op 6 set of "Grand Concertos" ranks with Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, Vivaldi's L'estro armonico and Corelli's Concerti Grossi as a high peak of baroque orchestral music. As frequently recorded as they are, they invariably astonish. Handel's ability to create different sonorities using only stringed instruments and continuo (harpsichord or organ) is miraculous, even if he wrote them, in the course of a month, raiding his own works - notable Giulio Cesare and the Ode for St Cecilia's Day - and with a little help from his friends. (He "borrowed" from Domenico Scarlatti and Georg Muffat, but repaid them with interest.) The Avison's accounts under Pavlo Beznosiuk have a natural, easy virtuosity that will endear them to purists...
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