Monica Huggett and her ensemble Sonnerie first appeared on the Avie release The World’s First Piano Concertos (AV 0014) with David Owen Norris. Here they capture the limelight in Handel’s Trio Sonatas, Op. 2. These virtuostic works have been performed by numerous instrumental combinations since they were penned around 1717, but Sonnerie’s core make-up of two violins, cello and keyboard prove the perfect partners to Monica’s singular brand of baroque music making. They are joined in the First Sonatas by Wilbert Hazelzet, one of the world’s leading Baroque flautists.
"...Over the years I have often been disappointed about the interpretation of baroque music by musicians and ensembles of the younger generations. The problems are often the same: too little differentiation within a piece, either between sections or movements, an equal treatment of all notes, a lack of dynamic contrast.
This recording by Sonnerie demonstrates how to play baroque music. This is an extraordinary engrossing interpretation. Or perhaps I should say: the musicians tell an engrossing story. They constantly keep the listener on his toes. The slow movements are very expressive, with a strong interaction between the players. The fast movements are really exciting and dramatic, with basso continuo players who push the ensemble forward. There is a lot of differentiation in dynamics and articulation here as well. The ornamentation is always tasteful and well played, with the right amount of variety.
If one has listened to a number of recordings with baroque chamber music which are rather rigid and inflexible, this disc is like a breath of fresh air.
I can only strongly recommend this excellent performance of some of Handel’s greatest chamber music."
Johan van Veen