Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Total Eclipse: Handel at Home, Volume 2


Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0676
Release Date: 2023-10-20
Number of Discs: 1
EAN/UPC: 748871067622
Liner Notes

…“full of the most delicious music you could ask to hear, and the players give every indication of loving every note they play” was how one enthusiastic reviewer described the first volume of aria arrangements on SOMM, of “Handel at Home” (SOMMCD 055) with the London Handel Players in Pan Magazine.

Indeed, it is an attestation of Handel’s power to speak to the very depths of one’s soul, to touch the heart and to rouse the spirit that after many years performing the repertoire, the London Handel Players present here “Handel at Home” Vol 2. A second selection of popular operatic arias either in contemporary settings or their own arrangements inspired by the original luscious scoring.

In the 18th century, the demand for such arrangements was high, since they provided a gratifying means of revisiting theatrical highlights in the domestic environment. Handel’s publisher, John Walsh, made numerous arrangements of various overtures and Handel himself may well have reworked the solo keyboard version/rendition of Ombra cara from Radamisto. Babell’s florid embellishment of the ever popular Lascia ch’io pianga from Rinaldo demonstrates a free interpretation adorned with extravagant Italianate ornamentation.

The beautiful rendition of the Overture to Samson for solo flute with continuo is taken from Walsh’s extensive publication and LHP have reinstated the string accompaniment in Total Eclipse and Thus when the Sun for added drama. The lyrical arias from Rinaldo, Giulio Cesare and The Choice of Hercules proved irresistible and they made their own arrangements!

“The London Handel Players often capture the elusive dramatic and orchestral context of the arias in these chamber arrangements. Their consummate musicianship is consistently delightful: sparkling violin-playing (often with two players in perfect unison) and superb continuo contributions are just as impressive as Rachel Brown’s poetic flute solos.” David Vickers, Gramophone – Handel at Home.

On This Recording

Rinaldo, HWV 7
  1. Overture (5:40)abcdef
  2. Sinfonia and Cara sposa (10:17)abcdef
  3. Il vostro maggio (2:21)abcdef
  4. Lascia ch’io pianga (4:45)f
Sonata a 5, HWV 288bcdefgh
  1. I. Andante (3:35)
  2. II. Adagio (1:29)
  3. III. Allegro (3:40)
Samson, HWV 57
  1. Overture (5:32)aef
  2. Total eclipse (4:02)abcdef
  3. Thus when the sun (4:28)abcdef
Radamisto, HWV 12
  1. Ombra cara (6:59)f
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17
  1. Overture (2:55)bcdef
  2. Se pietà (9:23)abcdef
  3. Da tempeste (6:22)abef
The Choice of Hercules, HWV 69
  1. Yet can I hear that dulcet lay (4:01)abcdef
London Handel Players aRachel Brown, flute, recorder bAdrian Butterfield, violin cOliver Webber, violin dRachel Byrt, viola eGavin Kibble, cello fSilas Wollston, harpsichord gNaomi Burrell, violin hCarina Cosgrave, double bass


“turning period arrangements of Handel opera hits into searingly gorgeous instrumental music.… Making such creations fizz is no easy task, requiring as it does a three-fold virtuosity in composition, execution and extemporization, but this recording consistently success. An incandescent presence [Rachel] Brown deploys he invention, and the particular qualities of the traverse flute to create a music wholly her own.… Equally fascinating is [Adrian] Butterfield’s one-to-a-part version of Handel’s Sonata a 5 in B-flat major (HWV 288); the shading and textures he brings to his line, and the Corellian lashings which he and the others happy to their parts, are their invention. Silas Wollaston bends Handel’s harpsichord version of ‘Ombra cara’ into a revelatory excursus: under Wollston’s fingers the aria becomes an intricately voiced, delicately timed, soul-baring almost-sonata, as if this were the music Handel first imagined before being forced to submit to the exigencies of opera seria. By restoring the role of composer to its performers, this project shows period practice coming into its own.” —Berta Joncus, BBC Music Magazine ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️