Highly praised in his short lifetime (he was born in 1785 and died rather mysteriously in 1806), Pinto fell into a long neglect in Victorian times and references to him are few. More recently there has been a revival of interest, thanks chiefly to Nicholas Temperley, who edited the volume of the London Pianoforte School which included all his piano music, and who writes about him in the insert-note to this record. It is not the first recording of his music, but it gives a good introduction to a talented and sympathetic musician.
Handel's Messiah is increasingly performed in authentic Baroque style and with period techniques, and this version by conductor Anders Öhrwall, the Stockholm Bach Choir, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra falls in line with the trend. While there is no clear indication that the instruments are anything but modern, the orchestral sound is imbued with a glossy string sound and transparent textures supported by a basso continuo that includes both harpsichord and organ, and the choir's scaled-down size gives it the transparency associated with Baroque choral singing.
You might think that Handel's Water Music, HWV 348-350, arguably the most familiar piece of Baroque music (the Four Seasons of Vivaldi can give it a run for its money, but its popularity is more recent), has received every possible interpretation. And you would be wrong, as the musicians of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin have shown in this Harmonia Mundi release, precisely recorded in Berlin's Teldex studio. You get a steady parade of innovations here, marked overall by, but not in the least restricted to, blisteringly fast tempos that turn the horn-dominated movements into tests of virtuosity. Unexpected dynamic contrasts and the unusual rhythmic treatment of the "Overture" to the Suite No. 1 (sample track one) are other novelties, but this veteran group is not out for shock value. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin operate without a conductor, and their coordination in these crisp prestos is worth the price of admission in itself. Their ability to act as one in really unusual shapings of each individual movement is remarkable, and the treacherous horn parts are near perfection in the hands of Erwin Wieringa and Miroslav Rovenský.
If only for his melodic genius, Handel would have been forever acknowledged as one of history's greatest composers. These delightful sonatas for recorder provide abundant evidence to support that claim, and Marion Verbruggen's warm, resonant recorder and brilliant flute prove the perfect partners for bringing these rarely heard pieces to life.
George Frederick Handel (1685-1759), one of the preeminent Baroque composers, was born in Germany, educated in Italy, and spent most of his career in England, making him one of the first genuinely cosmopolitan composers noted, for the elegance, sophistication, and tunefulness of his music. He established his reputation in London as a composer of Italian opera, but after public taste shifted in the 1730s, he turned to English oratorios, the most famous of which is Messiah. Other popular works include Water Music, Royal Fireworks Music, the operas Giulio Cesare and Serse, and the oratorios Israel in Egypt and Judas Maccabeus.