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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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The music on this disc, very well recorded in the early 1980's, perfectly brings together The Water Music and The Fireworks Music suites previously found on separate issues. It was at this time that period music performance was finally surging ahead as a result of considerably improved player skills in terms of overcoming the obstacles posed by the older styles of instruments. The English Concert under Trevor Pinnock was a major influence in this development and these two suites were major successes within that success.

Today, thirty years later, they retain their appeal. The tuning, particularly in the woodwind is no longer a problem for listeners and the earlier acerbic string timbres have disappeared. The brass and timpani are satisfyingly punchy without being overwhelming. The textures have been clarified so that every orchestral detail 'tells' and the internal balance is now clearly correct. The remastering has added some depth and space to the sound stage thus improving slightly a previously excellent pair of recordings. In addition, the re-coupling makes these recordings a far more generous offer than before. The remainder of the original Fireworks disc, two horn concertos, has now been re-coupled with the excellent and sonically improved Coronation Anthems and thus the original three discs have been reduced to two discs with enhanced mastering.

Pinnock consistently chooses exactly the most appropriate tempi for maximum effect throughout these pieces and the music is able to both 'dance' and to be heroic and majestic as appropriate. Everything feels just right.

For many this pair of performances was the definitive statement at the time of their first issue and has remained so ever since. There is little that can be said to seriously challenge that.

I would therefore suggest that prospective new purchasers should, at the very least, give this very fine disc the most serious consideration. I would also suggest that the companion disc of the Coronation Anthems and two horn concertos is also well worth considering.
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on 6 July 2014
There are those that have can I say a rather snobbish attitude to classical (?) that insist on getting whole works rather than a compilation exploring further the set pieces later.
In the case of Handel's Water music it is a fairly safe bet for even the casual listener to classical music and this cd certainly hits the mark.
As mentioned the recording quality is pretty high and does Handel's masterpiece justice. For the uninitiated track 11 is the best known piece but in context of the whole work is a very good start into discovering classical. Will be looking for more music from this label but once past the compilation album stage this is a good start to exploring classical works as a whole
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on 20 February 2013
Superb music, superbly played and conducted, superbly recorded- what more can I say? The best recording I've heard of these pieces.
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on 24 January 2016
Another in the 'Originals' series, this is a wonderful rendition of Handel's Water and Fireworks music, with all the majesty that these works deserve, played with enthusiasm and understanding. Did Handel ever envisage that we would be enjoying these works so long after the event? Almost certainly not, and yet they remain as popular as ever. This particular recording does them full justice, bring the works alive with a sense of occasion which can sometimes be missed in lesser renditions. This is a great disc which should be in every collection. Highly recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 November 2011
These recordings from 1983 on the Archiv label I've treasured since I first heard them, and they have remained my favourite version of Handel's Water Music since.

This is a re-release by Decca of those performances by The English Concert directed by Trevor Pinnock with Simon Standage and Elizabeth Wilcock playing solo violin.

Played on period instruments, this is an authentic account of one of Handel's most popular works and a great example of how it can be brought to life.
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on 13 December 2015
Sounds to be Handel's (presumably) concert arrangement, because it includes strings. Well played.
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on 9 June 2016
Fantastic recording - great fun hearing those "farting" natural horns!
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on 23 August 2016
Excellent. It apears to be the choice of 'The Gramophone'. Enough said!
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on 14 December 2015
As usual, delivered promptly. Excellent disc and performances.
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on 6 August 2013
A great album I used to have on cassette, re-brought to listen to while writing up my thesis as these pieces are not to intrusive as background music, just enough to blot out the surroundings and remain focused.
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