Founded in 2005, the Flemish Baroque orchestra known as B'Rock comes complete with many pleasing surprises. From its youthfully inspired name to its unconventional album artwork (in this case, a set of three rusted out 1970s-style vans), B'Rock puts a new face on Baroque music and period-instrument performance. One of their stated aims is to produce performances in which "expression and intensity come first." Make no mistake: B'Rock is made up of consummate musicians with a keen understanding of Baroque music and period instruments. The playing is indeed imbued with copious amounts of expression and intensity, but never do these aims come at the expense of musical integrity or faithfulness to the score. In this Et'Cetera album of Handel: Concerti grossi; Ouvertures, listeners will immediately be captivated by B'Rock's robust, rich sound -- impressive given the relatively small number of musicians playing at any one time -- the impeccable balance, and brilliant control over texture, color, dynamics, and articulation. Although B'Rock performs without conductor or designated artistic director, it possesses a clearly unified vision for the music it is producing and succeed greatly in creating an album sure to renew interest in early music. B'Rock is an ensemble that should be watched with great anticipation and hope that many future recordings of this fine quality will follow in the near future.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Concerto grosso in F major, Op. 3 No. 4, HWV 315|
|Flavio, HWV 16|
|Lotario, HWV 26|
|Concerto grosso in G major, Op. 6 No. 1, HWV 319|
|Il pastor fido, HWV 8|