Handel’s Eight Great Suites, 1720, and Baroque Invention

The fecundity of baroque composers can sometimes be hard to credit today. We have our Princes and our Zizeks producing high quality work at a rate that compares favourably with Scarlatti and the rest, but the norm seems to have shifted considerably from then to now. The mad fertility of baroque musicians, moreover, often produced finely honed, individually distinct compositions of great wit and invention. Note-spinning and idiomatic conventions may appear on the surface to create an environment where quantity could rule over quality, but the best music of the era confidently refutes such a suspicion.

Handel’s Eight Great Suites of 1720 (the only integrated collection of his keyboard works published during Handel’s lifetime) exemplify this fertility; every note just aches with significance. Jory Vinikour, he whose 2001 Goldbergs were so impressive, has just released fine new recordings of the suites on Delos. Vinikour benefits from a glistening, close-miked new harpsichord from John Phillips. He plays with nimble skill, and alacrity, throughout. His attentiveness to form and voicing is particularly striking. Go here to read my full review.

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2 Responses to “Handel’s Eight Great Suites, 1720, and Baroque Invention”

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