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The premise of this recording is sound enough – highlighting Handel’s introduction of the organ into his form of ‘Grand musical entertainment’ (in the words of the librettist Charles Jennens) using elements of the oratorio Saul arranged as organ concertos. Each musician’s contribution is of high quality, but there are many inconsistencies that contribute to a curious whole. The orchestral playing which, in line with the current trend, includes a battery of plucked continuo instruments, is brutally energetic and quite eccentric, and this all rather over-shadows the organ which, ironically, features in the background of the mix. By contrast, transcriptions of the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and Music for the Royal Fireworks are given rather heavy-handed treatment on a large romantic organ.

RUPERT GOUGH Read the full review on Agora Classica


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