Handel, Scarlatti, James, Pergolesi, Stanley, Felton, etc

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: etc,Felton,Handel,James,Pergolesi,Scarlatti,Stanley
LABELS: Cantoris
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Georgian Delights
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Gerald Gifford (harpsichord, organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CRCD 6049
As the cover image of a very hirsute Arnold Dolmetsch suggests, this CD pays tribute to the man who pioneered the early music revival in Great Britain. The two keyboard instruments used on the recording – a Shudi & Broadwood harpsichord, c1775, and a 1764 John Snetzler bureau-organ – were once owned by Dolmetsch, and the recital programme comprises works from rare 18th-century manuscripts and publications held in the Dolmetsch library.

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Gerald Gifford says his aim here is to provide ‘a snapshot’ of English 18th-century musical taste, so works by well-known composers such as Handel and Scarlatti rub shoulders with more artisan fare – popular airs and dances, teaching aids and minor exotica like Handel’s delightful ‘Air for a Musical Clock’. Gifford hasn’t uncovered any lost masterpieces, but Handel’s ‘Ouverture in Ottone’ and the two Scarlatti sonatas are accomplished, attractive works, while many of the lesser-known items have a lively charm, notably George Berg’s bright Sonatina in C and a two-part Lesson in F, erroneously attributed to Pergolesi, that ends with a dazzling toccata.

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A few pieces are perhaps of more historical than artistic interest, but this is generally a pleasing set, played with dextrous precision and spry enthusiasm. Graham Lock