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Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
1:02 AM 17th February 2024
arts
Review

Classical Music: From Handel's Home: The Keyboards Of Handel Hendrix House

 
From Handel's Home: The Keyboards of Handel Hendrix House

George Frideric Handel, arranged for keyboard by the composer Ouverture to Rodelinda, HWV 456 No 4; Handel A Voluntary or A Flight of Angels, HWV 600; Suite No 2 in F, HWV 427; Fugue No 5 in A minor, HWV 609’; Suite in C minor for two keyboards, HWV 446*Handel, arranged by Babell: Bel piacere***; Handel, arranged for keyboard by anon: Fugue in G major (Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 1)***; William Babell Toccata No 9 in G minor I & II**; Air in G, 'O the pleasure of the plains', HWV 474; Telemann Fantasia in D minor, TWV 33:2; Fantasia in B flat TWV 33:24; Stanley Voluntary in D, Op 5 No 5; Thomas Roseingrave Introduction to Scarlatti's Lessons; Domenico Scarlatti: Sonata in G minor, K 4; Sonata in G minor, K 124 Rhian Samuel (born 1944): Sarabande (Isolation Suite)***

Julian Perkins: Carole Cerasi*
Delphian DCD34314

** premiere recording *** premiere recording in this version https://www.delphianrecords.com/


This fabulous disc will simply delight. What a gem.

It is a shame that a friend, Dr Alan Spedding, who was the organist of Beverley Minister, is no longer with us to savour every crotchet and quaver from the collection of instruments located in Handel’s London house. Not least because the original 1767 Beverley Minster organ was built by Snetzler, and the present fine instrument has 16 original Snetzler stops. At its opening in 1769, the modern music of Handel was performed. Within Hendrix House, there is a Bureau Organ by John Snetzler, 1752. Dr Spedding would have been overjoyed, like myself, to hear the Bureau Organ as well as the different harpsichords.

Julian Perkins, who made this recording on the various keyboards, marks the tercentenary of Handel’s lease on the terrace house at 25 Brook Street, Mayfair, and its reopening last year as Hendrix House, renamed as legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix lived on the top floor in the 1960s. It is not surprising that Perkins has been dubbed ‘The Indiana Jones of Early Music’ by BBC Radio 3. Hendrix House holds a substantial collection of keyboard instruments—spinets, organs, and harpsichords—both original from Handel’s own day and reproductions, representing a roster of some of the greatest names, from Kirckman and Snetzler to Goetze & Gwynn to Bruce Kennedy’s copy of the Colmar Ruckers harpsichord.

The repertoire is as wonderful as the instruments, and besides a number of Handel’s compositions, such as a selection of movements from Rodelinda, a delightful, effervescent 1-minute Flight of Angels, and a lively Suite in C minor for Two Keyboards, with Carole Ceras joining Perkins, there is a mixture from his contemporaries, which includes first recordings and rarities. There are two delightful toccatas in G minor from William Babell, who also arranged the charming Bel Piacere. The disc ends with a piece that moves us from the 17th 17th/18th centuries to the 21st with Rhian Samuel’s Sarabande from her Isolation Suite, although I am not sure what it adds to this enchanting disc.

Perkin’s playing is superbly articulated; his virtuosic skill brings the varied instruments to life and it is a ‘treasure trove of timbres and sounds’. The dynamics, ornamentation, and colour illustrate magnificence in a superbly created programme performed in a room where Handel, his friends, and his contemporaries would have gathered to play, all captured by Delphian’s recording engineers.
Julian Perkins

Photo: ©foxbrush.co.uk
Julian Perkins Photo: ©foxbrush.co.uk