Handel wrote very little for the flute. Indeed, when he wrote the indication 'flauto' in his scores he meant recorder. His use of' traversa' is limited to a few sonatas and an occasional movement in operas and oratorios. However, the flute was a popular instrument among amateur musicians in Handel's London. The publisher John Walsh capitalized on this when printing arrangements of arias and overtures that could be played by either flute or violin, with continuo accompaniment. The London Handel Players take inspiration from Walsh's editions, with flautist Rachel Brown restoring violin parts to some favorite pieces from Alcina, Solomon and Scene/c. 'Beneath the vine' (Solomon), 'Verdi prati' (A/cma), and '0 sleep, why dost thou leave me?' (Semele) receive particularly beautiful, sensitive interpretations.
The London Handel Players often capture the elusive dramatic and orchestral context of the arias in these chamber arrangements. The captivating heart of the disc is Brown's intimately whispered 'Un momento di contento' (A/c/nsa) accompanied only by Laurence Cummings's lyrical harpsichord-playing. Brown also performs a recently rediscovered version of the Oboe Concerto in G minor that ascribes the solo part to either oboe or flute.
The six musicians featured on this disc are all principal players of the London Handel Orchestra. Their consummate musicianship is consistently delightful: sparkling violin-playing (often with two players in perfect unison) and superb continuo contributions are just as impressive as Brown's poetic solos. David Vickers