Danny Driver

Handel: The Eight Great Suites

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AllMusic Review by

Danny Driver might be considered a musical generalist, insofar as his interests in piano music range widely from Baroque to contemporary music, without any particular agenda or need for consistency dictating them. Furthermore, his use of a modern piano, rather than a harpsichord, in this 2014 Hyperion package of the keyboard suites of George Frideric Handel shows he isn't a specialist in authentic period practices. Yet if there is one characteristic that is apparent in his recordings, it would be his refined musicality, which carries his performances far beyond the point where narrowly focused pedantry or dry historicity would stop. Even though Driver's interpretations of Handel at times seem informed by modern pianism, his playing is exceptionally clean and elegant, and above all serves Handel's music more than his own personal expressive needs. Presented on two discs, the eight suites of 1720 appear with the Suite (Partita) in C minor, which was published in 1930, along with the small Suite in E minor and the Chaconne in G major, which were included in a 1733 collection. This is a comprehensive presentation of Handel's music for harpsichord, and Driver's rendering of it on the piano is thoughtful and tasteful, so even listeners who prefer them on harpsichord can be persuaded to give them a fair hearing. Hyperion's recording is first class.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Suite No. 1 in A major, HWV 426
1 2:21
2 3:49
3 2:31
4 3:13
Suite No. 2 in F major, HWV 427
5 2:30
6 2:18
7 1:30
8 2:08
Suite No. 3 in D minor, HWV 428
9 1:00
10 2:32
11 3:45
12 1:32
13 8:51
14 4:24
Suite No. 4 in E minor, HWV 429
15 3:20
16 2:34
17 1:51
18 5:13
19 1:47
Suite No. 5 in E major, HWV 430
20 1:53
21 4:10
22 1:48
23 4:05

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Suite No. 6 in F sharp minor, HWV 431
1 2:12
2 1:56
3 2:46
4 3:00
Suite No. 7 in G minor, HWV 432
5 6:06
6 3:21
7 2:24
8 3:22
9 1:34
10 4:25
Suite No. 8 in F minor, HWV 433
11 2:18
12 2:27
13 2:51
14 1:50
15 2:36
Suite (Partita) in C minor, HWV 444
16 1:44
17 4:25
18 1:50
19 1:03
20 1:00
Suite in E minor, HWV 438
21 2:57
22 3:09
23 1:45
24 11:11
blue highlight denotes track pick