Brook Street Band

Handel: Trio Sonatas, Op. 2

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Britain's Brook Street Band and its delightfully named founder and cellist, Tatty Theo, has cultivated a big, bright Baroque-instrument sound ideally suited to Britain's crossover Classic FM radio network and similar outlets. The sound, recorded at a Norfolk church, is too glaring by half, but it probably cuts through the clutter if you're listening to it on the motorway. The virtues of this set of Handel's Trio Sonatas, Op. 2, which were not really intended as a set, are consistency of intonation, clarity, an overall sharp edge, and above all an appreciation of the unique sound world of each work. The continuo texture is nicely modulated to the textures above it. Unlike other ensembles that feel free to mix and match, the group plays each sonata with the instruments Handel specified; the exception is the Trio Sonata in F major, Op. 2/4, for which Handel indicated a "traverso," while a recorder is used here. It's true that the recorder was commonly used in pastoral F major pieces, but by 1720 or so the "traverso" usage clearly indicated a flute. At any rate, the agility of recorder player Lisete da Silva also counts among the attractions of the work. The disadvantages, in addition to the acoustics, include a certain sameness to the sound; together these make the album as a whole less attractive than the sum of its parts. Ultimately reactions to this release may depend on listeners' individual feelings about the Brook Street Band's sound; it certainly does what it does well.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sonata No. 3 in B flat
1 2:23
2 2:30
3 3:35
4 3:07
Sonata No. 2 in G minor
5 2:59
6 1:21
7 3:58
8 1:38
Sonata No. 4 in F
9 2:01
10 2:46
11 2:03
12 2:11
13 2:30
Sonata No. 5 in G minor
14 2:36
15 3:00
16 1:53
17 3:32
Sonata No. 1 in B minor
18 3:27
19 2:45
20 2:49
21 2:17
Sonata No. 6 in G minor
22 2:24
23 2:07
24 2:37
25 2:15
Suite in G HWV 432
26 4:49
blue highlight denotes track pick