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Reviews: Handel: Concerti Grossi Op. 6 - Arte dei Suonatori

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Reviews: 5

Site review by Geohominid November 16, 2008
Performance:   Sonics:    
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

http://www.HRAudio.net/showmusic.php?title=5400#reviews

Review by JJ November 15, 2008 (8 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Händelís Concerti Grossi consist of two series. Opus 3 is made up of seven concertos and opus 6 twelve. They were composed in 1739 over a period of less than a month. ďFruit of a German composer who had traveled to Italy and was living in London,Ē notes musicologist Marc Vignal, ďHändelís Concerti Grossi are essentially, despite respect paid to England, descendants of the glorious line of Torelli and, above all, Corelli, whose concerti grossi opus 6, albeit performed in Rome as early as 1682, were first published in Amsterdam in 1714. In England, Albinoniís opus 2 was first published in 1709, Vivaldiís opus 3 no doubt in 1714, Corelliís opus 6 in 1715, Geminianiís opus 3 around 1732. It is perhaps John Walsh himself, who had become Händelís principal publisher, who asked Händel to add his name to this illustrious family.Ē Listening to the baroque ensemble Arte Dei Suonatori is, as always, a renewed pleasure. And let it be said right off that what makes this remarkable recording well worth the price is, above all, the atypical approach of the musical discourse. Händelís Concerti Grossi as heard on this recording release a perfume of rebirth, which is hardly the case of countless earlier versions. Under the inspired direction of Martin Gester, the musicians of the Arte Dei Suonatori enchant us by the detailed precision of both their articulation as well as the élan of their inflections. Colors are spread before us part of a palette of unique scents. Let there be no doubt that this interpretation of Händelís opus 6 will leave no one indifferent. It may shock some, enthuse others. Our choice is clear.

Jean-Jacques Millo
Translation Lawrence Schulman

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Review by garthoz November 26, 2008 (8 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
What a delicious experience this set is. The music must rate with Handel's best, the performance is first class and the recording is of a very high standard. I find myself returning to these discs over and over for a refreshing and entertaining experience; I'm confident that any lover of baroque music would be similarly engaged. This is an authentic period performance on period instruments. Any one looking for a sweet, melodic and romantic style presentation will be disappointed. The presentation demands your attention and opinion; you will not be bored. The continuo section comprising double base, and variously harpsichord or organ and the wonderful sounds of the theorbo or archlute. This section is by no means in the background as in some performances on vinyl decades ago, but contibutes up-front to the crispness and intimacy of the sound. One can imagine Mr. Handel himself directing things from the harpsichord or organ. The strings, and notably the violins are suitably bright, steely and free of vibrato.
I have listened only to the multichannel track of this set. The recording is a touch on the bright side but this only complements this style of music. The front/centre channel is quite strong in comparison to all my other SACD's but I welcome this and find that it helps to build up the solidarity of the sound. The rear/surround speakers provide sufficient ambience to give good depth and width to the sound stage.
So this set is a worthy companion to my other baroque SACD treasures, namely, Vivaldi "La Stravaganza" (also Arte Dei Suonatori) and Handel Concerti grossi Op.3 Academy of Ancient Music.

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Review by jeff3948 December 22, 2010 (5 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Martin Gester's recording of Handel's Op. 6 set struck me with its shear beauty of both the performance and recording. I listened to it in 5.0 multi-channel SACD sound. The instruments envelop you with gorgeous detailed sound from the front speakers and beautiful reverberation from all around. It sounds like it was recorded in a fine medium size church and it retains great detail as well as beautiful reverberation of the recording venue which is actually The Radio Hall in Wroclaw, Poland. Most other recordings only require 2 discs but this one requires 3 discs because most of the repeats are taken and the tempos are more relaxed. But just because this is a more relaxed interpretation does not mean it's boring, in fact just the opposite is true. This is the most beautifully subtle interpretation with great detail revealed by a more expansive melodic line and a lingering over pauses that allow the gorgeous sonorities of Arte dei Suonatori to be savored within the beautiful acoustics. Martin Gester shaping of the melodic lines is what makes this performance stand out among all others. Also, the continuo is extemporized with tenderness and inventiveness with a spontaneous feel. But don't get me wrong, there is no lack of vivaciousness in the fast movements where it is called for. The string sound has great articulation and detail with that beautiful "white" sound that original gut strings are famous for. There are far too many details of syncopations and phrasing to be mentioned here. I urge you to discover them yourself. You'll want to savor every note. This is what a great SACD is all about! It's like a Godiva box of chocolates, each one is different and once you start eating them, you won't be able to stop!

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Review by mlgrado May 24, 2014 (1 of 20 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I have several sets of the Concerto Grossi by Handel. This one contains fine playing for sure, and if this were simply the CD release, all would be well. Good playing, good CD sonics.

But this is an SACD. And is yet another example of the fleecing of consumers. There is nothing "super" about the super audio CD. It is nothing more than a redbook CD upconvert.

Which makes me wonder about the above 'professional' review, which gives a glowing review of the sonics on this release. There is nothing special at all about the sonics on this release. Granted, sound quality is subjective, but the state of the audio on this disk is not subjective at all. A hard, cold fact that this in NOT high resolution audio. And if there is a difference to be heard over and above CD, this release will not be such an example.

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