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Robert King directs his large authentic instruments orchestra in a glorious concert highlighting countertenor Davies in 11 Handel solo arias from some of the composer's finest English oratorios. He is joined in two well-matched duets with soprano Sampson (the ecstatic Welcome as the dawn of day and ghostly Who calls my parting soul from death).
The consort also plays the overtures to Jephtha and Samson. This combination of Handel's glorious sacred and secular music is notable for Davies' evenness of mellifluous tone, great breath control and subtle phrasing. He soars spectacularly in the virtuoso numbers like Yet can I hear, and shows darker tones in the lower register in Tune your harps.
Highlight: Triumphal Mighty love now calls to arm, with obbligato trumpet.
Beethoven's two final piano trios, No. 6 in E flat major, written for a countess, and the more famous ''Archduke'' one (No. 7 in B flat major), are perceptively played by musicians more famous as concert soloists. Faust on her ''Sleeping Beauty'' Stradivarius, Melkinov on a restored 1828 Graff instrument and Queyras on a 1698 Cappa cello provide delightful chamber music sounds, using vibrato only sparingly from the strings and creating an interpretation of this fine music that has both vitality and a fresh transparence.
Beethoven would surely approve of the way these musicians respect his works and must listen so closely to each other's sounds to produce those intimate, subtle tones of his period plus brilliance when needed.
Highlight: Final two movements of the ''Archduke''.