Edgar Krapp

Händel: Crudel Tiranno Amore; Works for Cembalo & Organ

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The music of George Frideric Handel on this disc is a somewhat motley collection in more ways than one. First there is the fact that some of it is quite unusual -- the soprano-and-continuo version of the cantata Crudel Tiranno Amor is not the one that is usually heard, and the eight selections from the 18 pieces for a Musical Clock are even rarer. Those are played on an organ, and they're delightful -- single-line or two-line pieces, each a minute or so long, and each capturing Handel's amazing sense of musical timing in miniature. The album is worth having for those alone, but the big, booming performance by keyboardist Edgar Krapp of the Suite No. 7 in G minor for harpsichord, HWV 432, is also noteworthy, with the engineering supporting an up-close harpsichord sound. Less successful in every way is the cantata. Soprano Sylvia Greenberg has the old failings common to specialists in late nineteenth century opera who were dropped into the Baroque repertory -- she oversings the music, missing pitches left and right, and never lets the listener get a sense of tonal equilibrium in the longer ornamented passages of the arias. Even here the engineering is strong; however, the disc has the sense of immediacy that is vital to the communication of Baroque chamber music, and there's some music here that needed to be unearthed.

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