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Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks, Concerti a due cori, Berenice Overture

London Symphony Orchestra Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 23.19 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Musique pour les feux d'artifice royaux (Version originale pour vents) - Concerto a due cori en fa majeur - Concertos n°1 en fa & n°3 en ré - Suite de Water Music (Arrgt. Harty) - Ouverture de Berenice / London Symphony Orchestra - Pro Arte Orchestra - Dir. Charles Mackerras

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A blast from the past Oct. 28 2007
By Peter J. Schiefelbein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This has long been a favorite recording of mine, finally available on CD. Recorded after midnight on the 200th anniversary of the death of Handel (the only time 26 professional oboists could be gathered together), the recording was an early attempt at performing the piece with its original instrumentation, albeit with modern instruments. But what players they were, at least in the horn section. Recorded not long after the death of Dennis Brain, it is a testament to the quality of British horn playing of the period, one not to be equaled until recent years. The horn section entrance in the Overture has to be heard to be believed. And hearing 26 oboes dig into their runs is nothing if not fun. For years the Concerti for Two Cori was music I listened to whenever I was down. It never failed to lift my spirits until, finally, I wore the poor recording out. The sound is remarkable for the period and bears hearing.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great old classic Oct. 26 2009
By R. Scharba - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I'm in total agreement with the review by Mr. Schiefelbein, this is a great, great recording and a highly unique one. Other subsequent attempts at recreating the original scoring of the Music for the Royal Fireworks has been made, even by Mr. Mackerras himself - in more modern sound, but never with the same overwhelming exuberance and sheer volume of sound. It must have sounded truly fantastic live. For years I had a really terrible pressing of this on a British Pye LP, and longed for the day when somebody would do a proper job of remastering it on CD. Thank god for Testament. Though the age of these recordings are betrayed by a bit of tape hiss and an ever-so-slight graininess to the sound, the performances in and of themselves are enough to knock your socks off. A truly legendary and iconic Handel recording...none other could replace it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't forget the snare drum! Aug. 8 2010
By Cometkazie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The other two reviewers have extolled the playing of the horns and oboes in the Fireworks, and I can't disagree with them. "Overwhelming exuberance" hits the nail right on the head.

But don't overlook the snare drum! I rate the Fireworks by how many goosebumps it raises and this performance takes the cake. The horns are brilliant and the twenty-six oboes twitter away magnificently and the kettle drums rumble on, but the snare here has the snap of a magnum in a J-frame. On the good performances it grabs my attention and won't let go.

Thank you, gentlemen, for your reviews which prompted me to purchase this CD.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let the fifes and the clarions and shrill trumpets sound Oct. 21 2011
By Joseph M. Woodland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful recording. I am not aware of any more modern recordings of the Fireworks Music that recreate the original instrumentation, and the sheer numbers of players of the original performance. Even those who prefer their Handel recordings with "original instruments" need not hesitate. The articulation of the (many) modern instruments would satisfy any listener. The early stereo sound is superb. Also entertaining are the liner notes detailing how this unusual recording came to be made. The cd is well worth the investment by devotees of Handel, and Charles Mackerras.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What joyous noise! Jan. 4 2013
By John Bodnar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
My first encounter with the Royal Fireworks Music performed by a band of modern winds was not this one (I found the Pye LP, I think it was, or maybe the Bach Guild re-release, later on) but the Telarc recording by the Cleveland Symphonic Winds (the winds of the Cleveland Orchestra, so definitely no slouches) conducted by Frederick Fennell, who, more than anyone, has made the band scene in the United States what it is today.

And love that recording I do, especially the Goldman arrangement of the Bach Fantasia in G and the Holst Suite in E-flat (which, if anyone were to be said to own it, Fennell does).

But this performance of the Royal Fireworks Music is just that much more thrilling, even considering the brilliant sonics Telarc provided for Fennell and company. Knowing the personalities (Barry Tuckwell, Alan Civil, and Philip Jones in the same recording!) behind it is partly responsible for what makes it so special, but the circumstances, too, are part of the story.

Mackerras recreated something that had not been heard for nearly two hundred years, and in doing so, laid the groundwork for others to follow. The Fennell recording, which might be just the second such performance before the historically-informed performance (HIP) crowd took up the cause, notes that the Mackerras arrangement is used. In 1989, the King's Consort recorded the Royal Fireworks Music on period instruments with 24 oboes, 11 bassoons and 1 contrabassoon, 9 trumpets, 9 natural horns, 3 timpani, 4 side drums, and 1 double drum, returning full circle to that first performance on 21 April 1749.

It is so wonderful to have these performance back in the catalog once again. Kudos to Testament for the remastering work and to EMI for licensing them to Testament. It's a real shame the other major labels can't do the same with a similarly motivated reissuer (e.g. I would love to have the E. Power Biggs Music for Organ, Brass and Percussion on CD or SACD, but what's the likelihood of Sony doing anything that intelligent).
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