STAMITZ: Sinfonia a Quattro in A. Sinfonia a Quattro in D. Andante non Adagio from Symphony in D "Op XI No. 1." RICHTER: Sinfonia a Quattro in B Flat. Sinfonia a Quattro in C minor
New Dutch Academy/Simon Murphy, cond.
PENTATONE PTC 5186 028 (M) TT: 55:32 (5 channel)

HANDEL: Organ Concertos, Volume III
Organ Concerto No. 7 in B-flat, Op. 7 No. 1. Organ Concerto No. 9 in B-flat, Op. 7 No. 3. Organ Concerto No. 10 in D Minor, Op. 7 No. 4. Organ Concerto No. 12 in B Flat, Op. 7 No. 6
Daniel Chorzempa, organist; Concerto Amsterdam/Jaap Schröder, cond.
PENTATONE PTC 5186 109 (M) TT: 66:04 (4 channel)

The New Dutch Academy CD offers a fine (if rather short—55:32) collection of works by two relatively neglected composers of the mid-18 century. According to tradition, at the time each key had its own "emotional state." The key of A major represents "mirth and rejoicing; brilliant and uplifting;" the key of B flat major, "cheerful love, masculine energy, hope, aspiration for a better world;" C minor, "lovely but sad, languishing, the longing and sighing of the lovesick soul;" and D major, "noisy, joyful, warlike and rousing, martial, grand and majestic." And, without too much imagination, one can hear this in the works listed above. Performances by the New Dutch Academy, who specialize in early music of the Netherlands, are expert indeed. The recordings were made January 10-13, 2003 in the Oud-Katholieke Kerk of The Hague, some during concerts. Sound quality is excellent, the surround effect limited to ambient hall sound with the small orchestra in front. It's unfortunate there isn't more music on the SACD.

The second CD above is a continuation of the set of Handel organ concertos recorded in the same church as above, but 28 years earlier—September 1975. These were originally recorded in quadraphonic sound with the engineers achieving a splendid natural sound with plenty of presence. The masterful performances sound authentic indeed. These are the only multi-channel recordings of this music and highly recommended. Volume I had a playing time of 55:09, Volume II 63:26, and 66:04 for this third volume. There are only three organ concertos to complete the set; it's unfortunate Pentatone didn't couple all sixteen more generously so they would fit onto three SACDs instead of four.

R.E.B. (August 2003)