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RUTH WILKINSON (recorder), MIRIAM MORRIS (viola da gamba),
JOHN O'DONNELL (harpsichord)

Three of Australia’s leading early-music specialists recorded this album in collaboration with Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It contains four of Handel’s famed recorder sonatas in the early John Walsh edition, in exemplary performances.

The major and most unusual work on the album is the John Walsh edition from the 1740s of the Music for the Royal Fireworks in a chamber version, arranged here for recorder and viola da gamba with harpsichord continuo. It was one of many variations of the work which were popular before the full orchestral version became the ‘norm’ at a much later date. While of short duration this is a program that is complete and has full integrity as a concert program.


AUDIO SAMPLE: Fireworks Music - Bourrée

dealer release date: 2 January 2015





CD program:
Musick for the Royal Fireworks
(Chamber edition pub. John Walsh)
Sonata No. 2 in G minor, HWV 360
Sonata No. 4 in A minor, HWV362
Sonata No. 7 in C major, HWV365
Sonata No. 11 in F major, HWV369

review extracts: for full reviews click here
“It came as an agreeable surprise to discover that I enjoyed and appreciated every bar of this latest CD of recorder and continuo music from Divine Art. Every detail and nuance of [the Fireworks music] is well-defined and consistently fresh and exploits the unique character of each instrument. I am equally enthusiastic about the four Sonatas for recorder and basso continuo presented on this disc. This is an excellent disc and will be in demand for all Handel enthusiasts. It is stunningly played and beautifully presented.” - John France (MusicWeb)
This album is pretty well what it implies: Handel, played on recorder. It's a pleasant album and the pieces convey mood well.” - Jeremy Condliffe (The Chronicle)

“ It's a pleasure to hear [The Fireworks Music] in miniature, and quite entertaining if you're familiar with the heartily orchestrated original! There is much tasteful and cheery playing here. The seasoned and well-knit ensemble playing is immediately evident, as is their affection for this music. The booklet notes are informative and the recorded sound is particularly beautiful.” – Alison Melville (The Whole Note)

“[The ‘Fireworks Music arrangement] is an appealing take on the original, emphasizing the dance origins of the music ... , the listener will find this to be a quite entertaining reading of the work, with nice lilt and unhurried pacing. The sonatas are a more mediocre commodity, though these fine performances would be welcome no matter how crowded the field. The performances excel in the projection of Handel's energy and charm, and I thor­oughly enjoyed hearing this recording. The recording is fairly close, but warm and detailed, with sufficient air that it does not seem claustrophobic. This fine release is happily added to my collection.” – Ronald Grames (Fanfare)

“ It is certainly interesting to hear what Walsh was able to accomplish in distill­ing the essence of Handel's massive ensemble down to its essential musical elements. At the very least, it is fascinating.” – Charles Brewer (American Record Guide)

“The program is in and of itself rather intriguing, as the trio's main work is nothing less than George Frédéric Handel's monumental music celebrating the end of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1749. Although one does miss the boisterous trumpets, horns, and drums, this rendition is a lot of fun. Much of its reedy pomp depends upon the nicely nuanced performance of recorder player Ruth Wilkinson, who gives it just the right ornamentation and speed. All in all this is a nice disc, and well worth acquiring for the Fireworks arrangement alone, giving one a glimpse into the manner in which the average well-to-do household of Georgian England admired Handel's music.” - Bertil van Boer (Fanfare)

“This is an interesting and original CD. The sound and balance on this recording is excellent. I recommend this CD, particularly for the performers' audacious skill in demonstrating how the Musick for the Royal Fireworks, which was the 18 th -century equivalent of a blockbuster, was brought into the living room and the small concert chamber.” - Elizabeth Rees (The Consort)

“ The strength and clarity of the performers is unmistakeable, they are among the most important musicians in Australia's Early Music scene and teach at the university of Melbourne. Aesthetic ornamentation in the slow movements and expressive interpretation make this CD a fine listening experience.” - Heida Vissing (Windkanal)