Handel's Water Music: a quick guide to essential recordings

Gramophone Fri 7th July 2017

Three highly recommended recordings: a modern choice, a classic and a hidden gem

First performed in 1717 for the pleasure of King George I as he travelled up and down the Thames in a barge, the three suites which comprise Handel's Water Music continue to inspire and delight audiences and musicians 300 years later, as perfectly demonstrated by our first recommended recording, captured live in 2016.

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The Modern Choice

Göttingen Festival Orchestra / Laurence Cummings (Accent)

'It’s a sound of zing, spring, heat and finesse; light-textured yet intense; multicoloured and with bristling timbres leaping so vividly into the air that you feel you actually could reach out and touch them...'

Read the full review in the Reviews Database

 

The Classic Choice

The English Concert / Trevor Pinnock (Archiv)

'Whatever the circumstances were which prompted Handel to write his Water Music, it is highly unlikely that George I ever witnessed performances matching up to this one. Had I been in the monarch's shoes and heard the present version I'd have given Handel anything in the world!'

Read the full review in the Reviews Database

 

The Hidden Gem

Brook Street Band (Avie)

'A version from an Oxford manuscript apparently originating from Handel himself that presents parts of the Water Music in chamber-music form…It’s refreshing to hear the music done in a much lighter and perkier way than it can be in its usual orchestral disposition...'

Read the full review in the Reviews Database

 

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