Barthold Kuijken transverse flute (with Robert Kohnen harpsichord, Wieland Kuijken gamba) & Peter Van Heyghen recorder (with Kris Verhelst harpsichord), Marcel Ponseele oboe (with Ewald Demeyere harpsichord & Richte Van Der Meer cello)
147:03 (2 CDs)
These two CDs include eight sonatas for flute, six for recorder (including an alternative version of one of the flute sonatas) and three for oboe (ditto!) played by three excellent musicians who have played enormous roles in the development of HIP performances in Belgium, where they are based, and in the world at large: Barthold Kuijken, Peter Van Heyghen (perhaps better known nowadays as the director of Les Muffatti) and Marcel Ponseele; they are joined in stylish performances by continuo players (keyboard and bowed) of equal renown. In short, this is as much a who’s who of the Belgian early music scene as it is a magnificent survey of Handel’s fine chamber music for solo winds. I think the decision to accompany the recorder sonatas with just harpsichord was an inspired one. After a brief introduction to Handel’s sonatas in general, the booklet shares information about the individual pieces – and is not too shy to confess that only two of the eight “flute sonatas” were actually thus designated by the composer, the earlier of which (fittingly) is now held in the Royal Conservatory Library in Brussels. I can imagine keeping this in the car to make long journeys seem much shorter.