The center of gravity of the historical performance movement has shifted south to Italy and west to the Netherlands since the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin came on the scene in 1982, but the group's silvery sound, even when recorded in what to these ears is an over-reverberant Nikodemuskirche in Berlin, still has plenty of fans. This release, one of a series of three devoted to Handel's Concerti Grossi, shows why. The group, by the standards of 2020, is large, but the ensemble is precise and quite impressive in the fugues and the other contrapuntal movements in which Handel attempted to outdo Corelli, his model in these works. They follow the sonata da camera model of a sequence of dances rather than the three-movement Vivaldian concerto grosso form, and to an extent, these pieces are to Corelli what Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are to Vivaldi: dense yet brilliant takes of the form. This all plays to the strengths of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and its machine-like sheen. Buyers have their choice of Handel instrumental music recordings that follow the current manner, with smaller ensembles, sharper attacks, and a more dramatic approach shaped by opera, but these performances succeed on their own terms, and there is still plenty of life in this approach.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Concerto grosso in B-flat Major Op. 6, No. 7 (HWV 325)|
|Concerto grosso in C Minor Op. 6, No. 8 (HWV 326)|
|Concerto grosso in F Major Op. 6, No. 9 (HWV 327)|
|Concerto grosso in D Minor Op. 6, No. 10 (HWV 328)|
|Concerto grosso in A Major Op. 6, No. 11 (HWV 329)|
|Concerto grosso in B Minor Op. 6, No. 12 (HWV 330)|