Handel: Water Music / Music for the Royal Fireworks
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|1. No.1 Overture/No.2 Adagio Staccato|
|2. No.3 And No.4 Andante|
|4. No.6 Air|
|5. No.7 Minuet|
|6. No.8 Bourree|
|10. No.12 Alla Hornpipe|
|11. No.13 Minuet|
|12. No.14 Lentement|
|13. No.15 Bourree|
|15. No.17 Rigaudon, No.18|
|16. No.19 Menuet, No.20|
|17. No.21, No.22|
|20. La Paix|
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Brimming with exhilarating dance tunes and colourful sonorities, Handel' Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks are his two most popular orchestral works. They were composed, respectively, for royal water parties on the River Thames in August 17
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Enter this recording, which I learned of when looking at things over at the Arkiv Music website. This recording on the Naxos label was a minimal investment (Naxos is a super resource for great music at low cost). What a delight to find such a high quality recording, played in a fresh and beautiful way. No, it is not note-perfect as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra plays it. But, it is lovely and refreshing to hear, a delightful experience that has life rather than mechanical reproduction of notes. An excellent investment!
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.
This is an excellent recording of excellent music at a super-bargain price, very highly recommended. Look out for other period instrument recordings by Mallon and the Aradia Ensemble.
Mallon and the Arcadia Ensemble perfectly capture the true magic
of Handel's gift: music that is glorious, majestic, yet always
inspired by the most marvelous sense of an uncommonly common touch.
In a word: entertainment.
The performance of every suite is graced with much care, nuance and balance.
Yet, overall and most importantly, their wonderful vitality has been preserved
and, dare I say it? enhanced.
Here is wonderfully celebratory music, performed with loving attention to every
aspect of it's playful and inspirational soul, dancing with delight.