Thursday, September 9, 2010

Handel - Harpsichord Suites - Paul Nicholson



Thurston Dart once wrote that a player of Handel's time who had played a repeat verbatim would have been considered "a dull dog indeed." Most of the time, literal repeats in Baroque music represent a failure of the imagination. That factor alone would be enough for an enthusiastic Paul Nicholson recommendation of Paul Nicholson's performances. He takes all of Handel's marked repeats and adds enough of his own embellishment to give us a different perspective on the music. Fortunately, there is plenty more to enjoy here. While Nicholson doesn't give us the driving rhythmic thrust of some harpsichordists, his playing is lively enough, and he makes Handel's slow movements expressive without altering rhythms enough to sound distorted. In short, this set is a triumph of good taste, a success on every level. Even the recorded sound (from 1994) is superb.—Leslie Gerber



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