Andrew Manze / Richard Egarr

Handel: Complete Violin Sonatas

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As Andrew Manze remarks in the liner note for this album, the sonata was perhaps "but a toy theatre in Handel's world of architectural splendours." Indeed, the eight sonatas, with the addition of two independent movements, provide an insight into a world far removed from the imposing, monumental Handelian works known to many listeners. But these works are by no means a lesser manifestation of the composer's genius. In fact, from the imaginatively compelling fast movements to the meditative melodiousness of the introductory movements, these remarkable works provide the listener with a valuable and memorable insight into the rich -- and sometimes surprising -- musical mind of one of Baroque music's true giants. When discussing these sonatas, scholars make much of Handel's indebtedness to Corelli. While Corelli's influence is undeniable, one should heed Bukofzer's observation that in "many allegro movements, Handel easily surpasses Corelli by his superb handling of lightly fugal textures and his complete mastery of the concerto style." Andrew Manze's artistry beautifully captures the Baroque richness of these works, adapting his instrument's protean voice to the many complexities and contrasts inherent in Handel's musical discourse. Elegant, tastefully expressive, and drawing an unexpected fullness and raw volume from a finely controlled tone, Manze also masterfully expands his instrument's sound potential in an effort -- particularly in certain allegro movements -- to discern the composer's dramatic intentions. As an accompanist, harpsichordist Richard Egarr is the quintessential distant presence, a discreet but essential interlocutor in a musical dialogue in which the two voices essentially blend to create a unitary aesthetic experience.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Violin Sonata in D major, Op.1/13, HWV 371
1 03:28
2 02:45
3 02:16
4 03:40
Violin Sonata in F, Op.1/12, HWV 370 (doubtful)
5 03:47
6 03:20
7 03:06
8 03:35
Violin (or Oboe) Sonata in D minor, HWV 359a
9 02:11
10 01:53
11 01:02
12 02:31
Violin Sonata in A major, Op.1/3, HWV 361
13 02:37
14 01:53
15 00:46
16 02:39
Violin Sonata in G minor, Op.1/6, HWV 364a
17 02:07
18 01:54
19 00:49
20 02:26
Violin Sonata in A major ("Roger"), Op. 1/10 (doubtful)
21 01:34
22 02:40
23 01:10
24 02:38
Violin Sonata in E major ("Roger"), Op. 1/12 (doubtful)
25 02:12
26 02:56
27 01:16
28 02:43
Violin (or recorder) Sonata in G major, HWV 358
29 01:44
30 00:43
31 02:22
32 02:12
33 03:30
blue highlight denotes track pick