Richard Egarr / Academy of Ancient Music

Handel: Organ Concertos, Op. 7

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This generously filled two-disc Harmonia Mundi release includes not only Handel's complete set of six organ concertos published after his death as his Opus 7, but also the organ concerto known as "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale," plus three works for solo harpsichord: a fugue in G minor and two chaconnes. The recording has transparent yet immediate super audio digital sound that puts the music in the room with the listener. These performances are as charming and engaging as the finest ever recorded. Organist and harpsichordist Richard Egarr is impressive in both roles. As the organ soloist, Egarr is strong and sensitive in the concertos, with a real talent for improvisation in the cadenzas. As the harpsichord soloist, he is focused in the fugue, but impulsive in the chaconnes; he holds the former tightly together, but gives the latter plenty of room to grow and develop, particularly in the 17-minute-long Chaconne in G major. Egarr is also impressive as the director of the Academy of Ancient Music. Listeners looking for a superb version of Handel's Opus 7 Organ Concertos need look no further.

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