The Australian (Australia)

Vincent Plush, 17 July 2021 (4 & ½ stars)

Hallelujah! Any album release by Van Diemen’s Band is cause for rejoicing, no more so than this splendid release of six concerti grossi by Handel, diverse pieces assembled from the 1720’s. No prizes for guessing where this band is based; VDB is the 2016 brainchild of that irrepressibly imaginative violinist Julia Fredersdorff. Here she has assembled 16  Baroque specialists – familiar names from most Australian capitals – and has attracted the leading French keyboard player Martin Gester to direct the enterprise. Recorded in St Canice’s Church Sandy Bay, in late 2019, the surround sound is simply stunning, drawing out the sparkling electricity of the playing. Sprightly, animated and ingratiating, these often dazzling performances can surely take pride of place alongside the best international Baroque recordings from recent decades.