Richard Egarr, "Handel Concertos Op. 7"

Album Review

Organ virtuoso Richard Egarr delivers a stirring rendition of George Frideric Handel's last published set of instrumental concertos. These pieces for organ, which were published posthumously in 1761, proved to be a magnificent finale to a remarkable career. Egarr tracked these concertos in close collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music. The musician opens this Opus 7 double-album with "Concerto in B-flat Major Op. 7, No. 3." The andante opens with Egarr's exuberant flourish on the organ, answered with equal verve by the orchestra. Heard in this andante is the essence of the collection: Egarr's exciting command of the technical and emotional elements of these concertos, underpinned by the stellar performance of the Academy of Ancient Music. The second disc closes with a graceful and witty interpretation of "Concerto in F Major HWV 295," popularly known as "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale," a longstanding favorite of artists and audiences. --Philip Van Vleck