The music featured on this disc are live BBC studio and concert broadcasts from 1955 and 1957, all taken from the ItterBroadcast Collection.
Richard Itterhad a life-long fascination with recording and he habitually acquired professional equipment for disc and tape recording even for solely private use. From his home in Burnham he was able to receive a good signal from the BBC Wrotham transmitter, which was constructed in 1951 and began broadcasting VHF/FM on 2 May 1955. His domestic recordings from BBC transmissions (including Proms, premieres, operas, symphonies and chamber music –more than 1500 works in total), date from 1952-1996. Everything was initially recorded on magnetic tape, but up to 1955 particularly important performances were transferred to acetate disc. These fragile discs were never played and have remained in excellent condition, as have the majority of the tapes which make up the bulk of the collection. In 2014 the Lyrita Recorded Edition Trust begun to transfer this priceless archive and has put in place formal agreements with the BBC and the Musicians Union to enable the release of items from it to the public.
Beyond its musical riches, this medley of 1950s BBC radio broadcasts (from the Richard Itter Collection) opens a portal on England’s post-war Handelianrevival. It is no accident that all these performances involve Thurston Dart, as harpsichordist, conductor or musicologist. His energy inspired a generation of musicians to explore neglected works by Handel and a host of other baroque composers, in a lithe chamber style more appropriate to their work than the heavyweight, orchestral grandeur favoured by previous generations. The efforts of Dart and other performers featured here paved the way for those more radical, ‘historically informed’ performance practices, which swept all before them in later decades.