In Vauxhall Gardens
''A Vauxhall Gardens Entertainment'', this agreeable CD is called, though in fact little of the music is likely ever to have been heard there. The items that most probably were are the two final ones, a cantata by Thomas Arne and Handel's The cuckoo and the nightingale Organ Concerto whose birdcalls would have sounded particularly charming in those leafy groves. The Arne cantata is a delight, too, starting with a lovely, poetic accompanied recitative and continuing with some of his typically fresh, melodious writing in a very English pastoral manner: Arne at his best (which he often isn't). And Emma Kirkby at her best, too; delectable, natural, full-voiced, and as always, in perfect control. She sings gracefully as well in the Abel aria, a gentle, leisured piece, happily, if a shade carefully decorated in the da capo, and with Charles Medlam supplying a shapely and refined obbligato, which Abel, himself a bass violist, no doubt originally executed. I enjoyed the finest of the vocal items, Handel's magnificent Armida abbandonata...The detail here is as beautifully chiselled as ever, the sound exquisite. [In] the Organ Concerto...Nicholas Parle's deft even fingerwork is a real joy."
1. Dietro l'orme fuggaci, HWV 105 "Armida abbandonata" by George Frideric Handel 2. Concerto for Organ in F major, HWV 295 "Cuckoo and the Nightingale" by George Frideric Handel 3. Concerto grosso in E minor by William Boyce 4. Sifari: Frena le belle lagrime by Karl Friedrich Abel 5. English Cantatas (6): no 2, Delia by Thomas Augustine Arne 6. Sonata à cinque for Violin and Strings in B flat major, HWV 288 by George Frideric Handel
Emma Kirkby (Soprano), Nicholas Parle (Organ), Richard Gwilt (Violin), Charles Medlam (Cello), Hiro Kurosaki (Violin) - Conductor: Charles Medlam & London Baroque
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