Handel: Works for Keyboard

Philippe Grisvard
Audax Records ADX13709
HWV427, 435, 438, 467, 469, 563, 580, 584, 609 + music by Babell, J. P. Krieger, Zachow

The French harpsichordist Grisvard has played continuo on more than forty recordings but this is his first solo CD and an impressive debut it is too. Playing on a copy by Detmar Hungerberg of a Mietke harpsichord, Grisvard revels in this selection of Handel originals, arrangements (by William Babell) and works by his contemporaries Krieger, Mattheson and Zachow. There are two suites (HWV 427 and 438) as well as the big G major Chaconne and a variety of shorter pieces including two preludes which Babell wrote to preface his Handel arrangements. The Fuga in A minor (HWV 609) shows what Handel was capable of in the contrapuntal arena but most of the music here was written more for show. So there are lots of scales and, fortunately, Grisvard is particularly good at them! The continuous figuration lies easily under his fingers and the overall shape of the music comes through the layers of ornamentation, both Handel’s and his own. The brilliance and exhilaration which contemporaries described in Handel’s own playing certainly shines through these performances.

Noel O’Regan