A rich recording of Handel's masterpiece

Giovanni Antonini campaign to reclaim Handel for Italy reaches new heights with this masterful performance.

Composer: Handel
Repertoire:  Twelve Concerti Grossi, Op.6 Il
Artists: Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini
Rating:  5/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: Decca 478 0319

Antonini’s vow is to reclaim Handel for Italy in this the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death. His campaign focuses on Handel’s orchestral masterpiece, the 12 Concerti Grossi of Op.6 composed in 1739. How Vivaldian the stabbing chords in the Presto of No.5. The Italianisation works less well in the previous shuffling Allegro, while the Hornpipe of No.7 has a rather too heavy stamp. Nonetheless, it’s a compulsive reading and the use of oboes, which both recent recordings reject, greatly enriches the ensemble.