The Chamber Music

CRD Records Ltd. CRD 5002
6 CDs
budget price
Reissued in 2002

Brilliant Classics 92192
6 CDs
budget price
Reissued in 2003

Performed by L’Ecole d’Orphée (on period instruments)


Disc 1: Flute sonatas

Stephen Preston (flute); Susan Sheppard (cello); Lucy Carolan, John Toll (harpsichord)

Disc 2: Violin & Oboe sonatas

John Holloway (violin); David Reichenberg (oboe); Susan Sheppard (cello); Lucy Carolan (harpsichord)

Disc 3: Trio sonatas op. 2

John Holloway, Micaela Comberti (violin); Stephen Preston (flute); Philip Pickett (recorder); Susan Sheppard (cello); John Toll, Robert Woolley (harpsichord)

Disc 4: Trio sonatas op. 5

John Holloway, Micaela Comberti (violin); Susan Sheppard (cello); Lucy Carolan (harpsichord)

Disc 5: Trio sonatas

John Holloway, Micaela Comberti, Alison Bury (violin); Susan Sheppard (cello); Lucy Carolan, Robert Woolley (harpsichord)

Disc 6: Recorder sonatas

Philip Pickett, Rachel Beckett (recorder); Susan Sheppard (cello); Lucy Carolan (harpsichord)

Recorded circa 1984-5.






This extensive survey of Handel’s chamber music by the ensemble L’Ecole d’Orphée features leading musicians of the British ‘Early Music’ movement. All the players are experienced members of orchestras such as The Academy of Ancient Music, The English Baroque Soloists, The English Concert, London Classical Players, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and The Taverner Players.

Now these six discs are reissued together in one boxed set at budget price. We have already reviewed these recordings within the scope of the Brilliant Classics boxed set Handel: The Masterworks. Philippe Gelinaud wrote that “the whole interpretation is particularly stylish and refined”, and spoke of “the variety of feelings expressed” and “the irresistible melancholic charm”. I fully agree with Philippe’s comments, and refer our readers to his review of The Masterworks for more details.

Yet I would add that the advantage of this CRD boxed set is the attractiveness of its packaging and the superior quality of its documentation (the booklet notes are expertly written by Anthony Hicks and Basil Lam). Brilliant Classics’s The Masterworks, admirable though it is in some ways, features no documentation and includes some poor recordings of other works that most Handelians will not require. There are other fine recordings of this repertoire available separately, especially the accounts of Opus 2 and Opus 5 by London Baroque on Harmonia Mundi (France). Nevertheless, these performances by L’Ecole d’Orphée should form an essential part of every Handelian’s audio library, and this reissue is without doubt the best edition of them to own.

© David Vickers - October 2002

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