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WETA, May 2012

There’s a good overview of the history of Handel violin sonatas in the notes for this recording, written by Daskalakis. She notes that the best-known music by that description is a collection of six sonatas. Unfortunately, four of the six are now thought to be by some other composer, although there’s no agreement about who that composer might be. Because these six are so well-known as a group, the trio has included them in this recording, the last four “imposter” sonatas following the music known to be authentically by Handel. © 2012 WETA Continue reading

Paul Turok
Turok’s Choice, April 2012

Nine Handel violin sonatas are excellently played by the Ensemble Vintage Köln (8.572245). The violin sonatas are often overlooked by violinists as well as listeners. They contain beautiful music, and this combination of Ariadne Daskalakis (Baroque Violin), Rainer Zipperling (Viola de Gamba/Baroque Cello) and Gerald Hambitzer, (Harpsichord), do handsomely by the music. © 2012 Turok’s Choice

Joseph Magil
American Record Guide, March 2012

The performances are good overall, and I am especially happy with Rainer Zipperling’s spunk and assertiveness… © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Robert Maxham
Fanfare, March 2012

Their program, played on period instruments (Daskalakis on a Januarius Gagliano violin from 1723, with a viola da gamba, cello, and harpsichord filling out the continuo group—all at A = 415) opens with the familiar Sonata in D Major, HWV 371, which sounds by turns sumptuous (the slow movements) and sharply articulated (the fast ones) in the ensemble’s reading. The continuo group plays with an ear attuned to textural subtleties and engages in intelligent dialog with the soloist, some of it, as in the finale, engagingly energetic

[Daskalakis’s] performance seems winningly energetic. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Robin Stowell
The Strad, January 2012

These performers give pride of place to the five echt violin sonatas…Their readings demonstrate remarkable flair and individuality, as well as an instinctive sense of style.

Ariadne Daskalakis makes her violin sing eloquently in the slow movements…and she adopts some interesting…embellishment practices.

Cello and viola da gamba are employed flexibly and the varied repeats in the Largo of HWV370 and Adagio of HWV368 are very effective. The recording has exemplary clarity, yet warmth too. © 2012 The Strad Read complete review

Mark Sealey
MusicWeb International, December 2011

If the standard of playing is high enough, this is the best of both worlds. It is. …one never tires of the sound or the interpretations from the specialist colleagues at the Hochschule für Musik Köln. Even during the probable ‘interloper’ sonatas, the sinuousness, flexibility and deft weaving of melodic ideas is presented with much more than mere charm. …nothing ever drags, hangs or leaves us wishing for the next movement. In fact, the members of the Ensemble have as good a grasp of contrast as the composers would have had. Listen to the allegro of the E Major, HWV 373, [tr.35] for an illustration of this well-conceived and equally well-executed approach.

At the same time, each movement is played with decisiveness, positive attack and real sensitivity to the subtleties of whoever composed it…

…this is a release that will satisfy and stimulate…Ensemble Vintage Köln has something interesting to say about them…and says it with style, enjoyment and insight. © 2011 MusicWeb International Read complete review, December 2011

The sound of all the works is particularly good in the performances by Ensemble Vintage Köln, with the mellow tones of Ariadne Daskalakis’ baroque violin well supported and nicely enhanced by the continuo instruments. The blending in the two authentic minor-key sonatas and the late D major sonata (HWV 371) is particularly well done. © Read complete review

Terry Robbins
The WholeNote, December 2011

For period performance playing that not only sets a very high standard but also draws you into the performances, try listening to the new Naxos CD by Ensemble Vintage Köln of the Handel Complete Violin Sonatas (Naxos 8.572245), featuring Ariadne Daskalakis on baroque violin, Rainer Zipperling on viola da gamba and baroque cello and Gerald Hambitzer on harpsichord. This is an immediately warm and fully engaging disc; Daskalakis is a marvellous soloist, and receives perfect support from Zipperling and Hambitzer. The harpsichord continuo is crisp and lively, and the cello playing simply outstanding—in fact, the interaction is so strong that it sometimes feels as if we are listening to duo sonatas. These are clean, strong, well-balanced and scintillating performances, with impeccable style but also with heart and guts. And there’s the difference: while you’re listening to this CD, you simply can’t imagine these works being played any other way, or being played better. And for me, that’s the true test of period performance—or of any performance, for that matter. © The WholeNote Read complete review

Mike D. Brownell, November 2011

Performing on period instruments…Daskalakis take their academic understanding of the scores and translate it into informed performances that glisten with vibrant, dynamic, effervescent playing. Balance puts the violin appropriately at the forefront without covering the engaging and well-played continuo part. Naxos’ sound is clean and responsive. Read complete review

Giv Cornfield, PhD
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, November 2011

Ariadne Daskalakis plays a soft-spoken baroque violin in this complete version of all of Handel’s sonatas specifically designated for performance on violin—though some of these works are perhaps better known in versions for recorder and/or flute, or oboe. Rainer Zipperling provides string continuo on gamba and baroque cello, and Gerald Hambitzer is the harspichordist. The playing is exemplary, tender and exuberant by turn.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2011

Did Handel compose all nine sonatas, and if he did, where they all for the violin? The exemplary programme note details the music’s history and the reasons why the answer to both questions is probably in the negative. Uncertainty goes back to their first publication in 1730 as a group of twelve sonatas for various instruments. To give greater sales potential the publisher described them as ‘sonatas for oboe, flute and violin’, though they were just as likely to have all been for composed for the violin. The doubt that they were all from Handel arises from a publisher who would have wanted to use his name to sell the whole set. Ensemble Vintage Köln place the five carrying the correct credentials first, then perform Handel’s short movements, the Andante in A minor and Allegro in C minor, before the four sonatas with question marks hanging over them. Performed on period instruments, the accompaniment is provided by a duo of harpsichord and viola da gamba or Baroque cello. The ‘soloist’, Ariadne Daskalakis, plays a Gennaro Gagliano from 1732, a fine instrument that can sing as gorgeously as it can sparkle with brilliance. Her performances are far from bland, and period purists may find her flexible approach to rhythmic matters taking freedom too far. Her left hand is very nimble, decoration added with such deft agility, while intonation is totally reliable. Without surrendering solo status, she leans towards a trio approach, giving the other voices much importance. Yes, there is the version from Andrew Manze described elsewhere as ‘a great chamber music recording’, but Daskalakis is just as persuasive, while Rainer Zipperling’s viola da gamba or cello—as the music demands—is the icing on the cake. First rate sound quality.

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