• George Frideric Handel, Francesco Barsanti

    Edinburgh 1742: Barsanti & Handel

    Ensemble Marsyas, Peter Whelan

    Edinburgh 1742: Barsanti & Handel 1 cd CKD 567
    Linn Records

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The popular Ensemble Marsyas returns with a diverse programme of concerti, wind music and Scottish songs by composers Francesco Barsanti and George Frideric Handel, centred around the music composed for The Edinburgh Musical Society. Horn soloists Alec Frank-Gemmill and Joseph Walters take centre stage in Handel’s Concerto for French horns, exemplifying the extraordinary vogue for horn music at this time.  Timpanist Alan Emslie joins them for Barsanti’s Concerti grossi Op. 3, an unusual concertino comprising timpani and natural horns. Barsanti’s four ‘Old Scots Tunes’, notable as one of the first examples of Scottish Traditional music to be faithfully transcribed, introduces fiddle player Colin Scobie. Completing the programme is Handel’s aria ‘Sta nell’Ircana’ from Alcina, featuring mezzo-soprano Emilie Renard, and the March for wind band, HWV 346. The recording, which will be launched at the 2017 Edinburgh International Festival, is a fine addition to the group’s discography. The Edinburgh based chamber group comprises the best of a new generation of musicians specialising in early music across Europe. Ensemble Marsyas has appeared at Wigmore Hall, the Göttingen Handel Festival, the East Neuk and Lammermuir Festivals, the Great Music in Irish Houses Festival and the Zelenka Festival in Prague. Ensemble Marsyas’ previous recordings of Zelenka, Fasch and Handel each received several five star reviews. Peter Whelan is the founder and Artistic Director of Ensemble Marsyas and is in constant demand as both a performer and director. Principal bassoon in both the Scottish Chamber and Mahler Chamber Orchestras, Whelan is equally at home on modern and historical instruments with a diverse repertoire spanning over 400 years. 

"Ensemble Marsyas, which delivers impressive performances of the music selected for this disc. Especially the players of the natural horns deserve the highest praise for their efforts."
musica Dei donum, 24 April 2018
"This terrific CD, bustling with energy and creativity, gives a vivid impression of Edinburgh in 1742..."
Early Music Review, 5 January 2017
"Top 20 Classical Albums of 2017: With great style and charisma, Peter Whelan and his excellent Ensemble Marsyas reconstructed a typical Society concert in Edinburgh 1742."
The Herald, 13 December 2017
"Recording of the Year: ...wonderfully vivid playing of tremendous music was the icing on the cake. Lip-smacking stuff!"
MusicWeb International, 9 December 2017
"Performance 4 / Recording 5: Ensemble Marsyas afford all due splendour to ravishing largos, martial pomp to rousing allegros, and high-spirited dance steps to Menuets...an assured disc of horn-infused Baroque finery."
BBC Music Magazine, November 2017
"In all five Concerti Grossi the Edinburgh-based Ensemble Marsyas play with impeccable stylistic elegance...decidedly pleasing..."
MusicWeb International, 12 October 2017
"Editor's Choice: Emilie Renard is the soprano here, and no less boldly magnificent is she than the horns that blow through not only this piece but virtually the whole disc like an invigorating and cleansing wind."
Gramophone, October 2017
"This superb disc celebrates Barsanti’s Scottish period, pairing his music with works by his one-time collaborator, Handel...Glorious stuff...Linn’s sound is spectacularly vivid."
The Arts Desk, 23 September 2017
"Recommended for those who love Handel and his era."
All Music, 11 September 2017
"CD of the Week"
RTE Lyric FM 'Classic Drive', 4 September 2017
"Editor's Choice: "...brought off with captivating brio from all involved""
Presto Classical, 30 August 2017
"...played with tremendous zest and character...a vibrant recording..."
BBC Radio 3 'Record Review', 12 August 2017
"Engaging, entertaining, sensitive and remarkably assured, it will appeal to all lovers of Baroque music. Altogether a triumphant disc."
Europadisc, 4 August 2017
"4* - ...it’s a rich insight, played with great style and charisma."
The Guardian, 3 August 2017
"5* Baroque music gem: The performances by Ensemble Marsyas...are consistently bracing."
The Irish Times, 2 August 2017