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By choosing to record the whole of Handel's Twelve Solo Sonatas, Op.1, the Academy of Ancient Music lose the familiarity.
Repertoire: Twelve Solo Sonatas, Op.1
Artists: Soloists, Academy of Ancient Music/Richard Egarr (harpsichord)
Label: Harmonia Mundi 907465.66
There is something lazy about recording this complete set. One wants the artist to pick out the best, not just play through the sequence. All 12 sonatas of Handel’s first published work (whereby a tale hangs – see sleeve) are given here, the soloists taking turns. Rachel Brown’s cool, chalky recorder and flute tone, Frank de Bruine’s bumpkinish oboe and Pavlo Beznosiuk’s gutty fiddle contrast enticingly with Egarr’s golden harpsichord tinkle. But the absence of any thrilling hell-for-leather speeds in the jig finales suggests lack of familiarity. Personally I like the G minor recorder sonata, but what do the artists think? Do they really like them all equally?