Directed by Handel

Floral design

Music from Handel’s London Theatre Orchestra
Olwen Foulkes recorder, Nathaniel Mander harpsichord, Carina Drury cello, Toby Carr theorbo, Tabea Debus bass recorder
Barn Cottage Records bcr019
Music by Blow, Castrucci, Corelli, Geminiani, Handel, Giuseppe Sammartini & anon

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his intriguing and imaginative programme takes as its starting point concerts given by recorder players prior to and after the arrival in London of Handel. Jacques Paisible had popularized the instrument towards the end of the 17th century, and Olwen Foulkes makes the reasonable assumption that instrumental concerts from then onwards would have featured popular works transcribed for recorder and continuo. Assuming that many of these transcriptions would have remained in repertoire, it is not inconceivable that Handel could indeed have directed such diverse programmes. Olwen Foulkes is a lovely recorder player, with a fulsome tone and very musical approach on a range of recorders including descants, treble and voice flute. Her phrasing and effortless decoration are exemplary and extremely persuasive, and she is ably supported by a range of other fine musicians. This barn-storming performance will delight recorder players everywhere, but is also of much wider interest as a window on a period when musicians happily ‘borrowed’ extensively from each other to satisfy public demand.

D. James Ross

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