Included in the 1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die, Aradia's rendition of Boyce's eight symphonies are majestic. Most of the recordings included in the aforementioned book are obviously worth checking out, but by no means exhaustive; in fact they seem to give equal weight to the actual quality of the sound and its recording as well as the music and its performance. This disc falls into the former category. Although Boyce's music may not be the most profound it is certainly charming - and the quality of the present in terms of sound is unparalleled - this is the kind of cd which puts you right in the spectator's box in 1760 - or even on the Thames lapping up the music. It is a crisp, smooth and dynamic texture which allows this lovely music to flourish. Just as Bach managed to mix the best of foreign elements, so too does Boyce; the works here speak of Italy and France and certainly have a continental feel to them. However, make no mistake, this is hearty English music.
Boyce had great respect for Handel and it shows. Yet, this does not impinge on his own originality. Critic Burney praised Boyce for his handling of his own music in terms of being in Handel's shadow, remarking that he did not pillage as so many others did, a habit Handel himself of course was not immune from! This is regal instrumental music at its best: unaffected, sober and refined. Certainly a performance fit for a king. Buy with confidence!