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April 14, 2019

Freya Parr Five essential works by Handel



Handel wrote his great oratorio Messiah in just two weeks in 1741, setting a libretto by Charles Jennens. Every aria and chorus is memorable including, of course, the famous ‘Hallelujah’ chorus.

Recommended recording:
Susan Hamilton, Nicholas Mulroy, et al, Dunedin Consort/John Butt
Linn CKD285




Water Music

When George I took a boat trip down the Thames in July 1717, complete with entourage, they were also accompanied by 50 musicians on a separate ‘barge’ playing Handel’s stately Water Music.

Recommended recording:
L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo
CPO 7773122




Keyboard suites

Like Bach’s great Partitas, Handel’s Suites incorporate French, Italian and German music. From the most tender opening of Suite No. 2 to its Gigue ending, Handel reveals his mastery of colour and texture.

Recommended recording:
Murray Perahia
Sony SK62785




Giulio Cesare

Giulio Cesare received a welcome boost from a tremendously zesty Glyndebourne production in 2005. Handel's opera
boasts magnificently memorable music.

Recommended recording:
Jennifer Larmore, Barbara Schlick, Bernarda Fink, et al, Concerto Köln/René Jacobs
Harmonia Mundi HMC901385/87




Dixit Dominus

Written during his years in Italy, the influence of Vivaldi on this anthem is clear. It’s a virtuosic choral piece with exuberant counterpoint and drive.

Recommended recording:
The Sixteen/Harry Christophers
Coro COR16076




Red Norvo

Red Norvo (1908-99) was a xylophone virtuoso who led a hit band and became “Mr. and Mrs. Swing” with vocal star Mildred Bailey. A featured soloist with Benny Goodman and Woody Herman, he later formed a ground-breaking trio with bassist Charles Mingus. Geoffrey Smith surveys a remarkable career.

from Geoffrey Smith’s Jazz

Gary Burton

To mark his retirement, vibraphone superstar Gary Burton has compiled a retrospective set of discs covering the whole of his extraordinary sixty-year career. Geoffrey Smith picks highlights from one of the leaders of contemporary jazz, featuring the likes of Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea.

from Geoffrey Smith’s Jazz

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