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Baroque Albums

The Record Shelf

By Stephen Addiss

Rameau--Complete Harpsichord Music

The curious duality of Rameau consists of the stern formalization of his harmony combined with his quaint and often humorous pictorialization. These two facets are much in evidence in this attractive album of his complete harpsichord music. Pieces such as "The Hens" or "The Joke" are marvelously descriptive but obey Rameau's strict harmonic rules which caused such a controversy in his day. Harpsichordist Robert Vernon-Lacroix gives a properly stylized rendition and the re-ording is precise. (Westminster 3303)

Handel-Solomon

Sir Thomas Beecham has drastically cut and revised the order of Solomon, one of Handel's most popular oratorios, which up to now was mysteriously un-recorded. Fortunately, he has left in the wonderful choruses which distinguish the work. The soloists are capable and the balance and recording are smooth. If you aren't a purist demanding Solomon complete, you'll probably enjoy this version. (Angel 35468)

Corelli--Concerti Grossi Opus 6 (complete)

The first great exponent of a form that was to inspire Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel, Corelli was to set the style for years to come for the Concerto Grosso. Yet, like all great composers, Corelli avoided a dogmatic conception of musical form, and within the twelve concerti of Opus 6 there are twelve different variations on the general slow-fast-slow-fast and fast-slow-fast shapes. Quadri elicits a lovely shimmering string tone from the English Baroque Orchestra. (Westminster 3301)

The concerto form reached its greatest complexity in the music of J.S. Bach, who was well grounded on the Italian Masters before inserting his peculiar inventiveness. The concerto for two keyboards and orchestra was a favorite of his, and the C Major Concerto is one of his loveliest works. It is played with great finesse by Clara Haskil (who created a sensation with the Boston Symphony this fall) and Geza Anda. (Angle 35380)

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