Album review: Daria van den Bercken, Handel: Suites for Keyboard (Sony Classical)

 

These days, promotional novelty tends to wag the classical dog. In Dutch pianist Daria van den Bercken's case, this meant playing on a barge towed around the canals of Amsterdam – though since it's brought us this delightful selection of Handel Suites, it was surely worth the indignity.

They reflect Handel the consummate cosmopolitan, drawing on pan-European flavours with a facility unmatched by his contemporaries; indeed, more than once here, notably in the Allegro of the “D minor” suite, the interlacing lines reminded me of the Goldberg Variations. Van den Bercken deftly conveys the mixture of joy and lightness combined with melancholy that first drew her to the Suites, particularly in the intensely moving Sarabande of the “G minor” suite.

Download: Suite in D minor; Suite in G minor; Suite in F major

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