Handel: Concerti Grossi Op 6 (Aradia Ensemble, Kevin Mallon) (Naxos: 8.557358-60)
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Handel's Concerti Grossi
contain some of the finest orchestral music of the eighteenth century. The Op. 6 collection brims with a wealth of variety, colour, and dance rhythms - Polish and Pastoral dances, courtly and fast ones - and Handel's customary self-borrowings and indeed borrowings from other composers. The combination of full orchestra with a concertino solo group of two violins and cello allows both breadth and intimacy, producing concertos in the fullest sense. On this recording Kevin Mallon incorporates the later oboe parts for Concertos Nos. 1, 2, 5
, using them as a model for most of the other concertos. When the oboes are silent, flutes or recorders are added, in line with eighteenth-century practice.
Much more even than the earlier Op. 3 set, this Op. 6 collection is the jewel of Handel's orchestral life. They have been recorded numerous times but Kevin Mallon and the Aradia Ensemble have established a high critical place in music of the period.Kevin Mallon
founded the Aradia Ensemble
in 1999, with which he has toured widely, and in the same year, became conductor of the Toronto Chamber Orchestra. He has made some fifty recordings for Naxos.