Handel Cello Sonatas? As Handel didn’t write any, that may raise a few eyebrows. Then again, period-instrument ensemble The Brook Street Band have been doing just that since their debut recording of Handel’s “Oxford” Water Music (AV 0028), a chamber version of the orchestral evergreen, which earned the all-girl baroque band a Gramophone Editor’s Choice. Tapping into the ubiquitous 18th-century technique of recycling tunes by transposing or arranging for different instruments, The Brook Street Band – named after Handel’s London address – here take the set of recorder sonatas variously known as Op. 1, assigning the solo line to the cello, an instrument which with Handel had obvious affinity. The Brook Street Band’s second disc, Handel’s Op. 5 Trio Sonatas, became a favourite on Classic fM. This, their third release, is acclaimed and popular in equal measure.
“…we can hardly blame Tatty Theo for wanting to appropriate music as good as Handel's recorder sonatas for her instrument, and neither can we feel that Handel would have disapproved. The supposition is even more easily made on hearing these spirited performances, which render the novel concept of Handel cello sonatas totally convincing. Baroque cellists, rush for these arrangements - it's your lucky day!” Gramophone
“Theo and Gibley play their transcriptions with impeccable style and with a warm rapport for the music. Slow movements come off especially well and, in one or two instances… the sustaining power of a bowed string instrument has an advantage over a recorder.” BBC Music Magazine