This has got to be one of the finest recordings available of Handel's famous WATER MUSIC and MUSIC FOR THE ROYAL FIREWORKS.
Performing on period instruments, the top-notch Aradia Ensemble, under the inspired direction of Irishman Kevin Mallon, delivers a recording that is a much needed breath of fresh air for admirers of this familiar music.
Citing the "lugubriousness" of other recordings, Mallon speeds up the tempi for both the WATER MUSIC and ROYAL FIREWORKS making those scores spring to life like never before. The quicker tempi may not sit well with some so-called purists, but only the most rigid won't be happily tapping their feet while listening. (Much of this is dance music, after all!)
To augement the period authenticity of the music, Mallon, in a stroke of artistic brilliance, adds purcussion to several tracks of this recording.(During Handel's time, it was common practice to include percussion in dances and overtures.) You've never heard a more rousing OVERTURE from THE ROYAL FIREWORKS until you've heard it with those regally pounding drums.
Additionally, this is the first recodring of FIREWORKS to properly include a transverse flute. The effect, of course, is pure magic and again lends an air of authenticity.
To top it all of, the great sound engineer, Norbert Kraft, has done it again for Naxos. The sound here is rich and natural, as is usally the case for this label.
Enthusiastically recommended for those who want to hear two well-known pieces again for the first time.