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Handel: Fireworks, Water Music / Robert King, King's Consort


Release Date: 04/14/2009 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55375   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Robert King
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Consort
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



HANDEL Music for the Royal Fireworks. Water Music Robert King, cond; King’s Consort (period instruments) HELIOS 55375 (67:30)


This reissue on Hyperion’s budget label of Handel’s two most popular orchestral works brings together recordings originally issued with different discmates. The Music for the Royal Fireworks from 1989 was paired with a very good recording of the four coronation anthems. The Water Read more Music from 1998 was issued with Telemann’s Overture in C known as the “Hamburger Ebb und Fluth” or “Wasser-Ouverture.” Both recordings are still available.


The Music for the Royal Fireworks was written for a celebration of the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1749. Although Handel wanted to include strings in the orchestra, George II insisted that only “martial instruments” be used. This was the first recording to use the exact number of musicians heard at the premiere: nine trumpets, nine horns, 24 oboes, 12 bassoons (including a contrabassoon), three pairs of kettledrums, and side-drums. In addition, Handel also used a large pair of tympani sounding an octave lower than ordinary tympani that he had sometimes borrowed from the Tower of London for his oratorios. King manages this huge array of winds and percussion marvelously. Although I prefer this work with the strings that Handel added in a later performance at the Foundling Hospital, the instrumentation here and King’s direction make for a thrilling performance.


The Water Music was written for a party in which George I and most of London’s dignitaries and nobility sailed in open barges on the Thames to Chelsea and back. The music Handel composed for the event was played by a group of approximately 50 musicians on another barge that accompanied the royal vessel on the journey. The King liked the music so much he had it played three times. I was not previously acquainted with King’s performance of the Water Music , to my loss. This is one of the best performances I have ever heard. I would place it on a level with my other favorite performance, Trevor Pinnock’s first performance on Archiv.


This is an essential purchase unless you already have the two discs from which it draws. It was issued on April 14, a fitting commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death. Urgently recommended.


FANFARE: Ron Salemi
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Works on This Recording

1.
Music for the Royal Fireworks, HWV 351 by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Robert King
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1749; London, England 
2.
Water Music Suite no 1 in F major, HWV 348 by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Robert King
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715-1717; London, England 
3.
Water Music Suite no 2 in D major, HWV 349 by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Robert King
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715-1717; London, England 
4.
Water Music Suite no 3 in G major, HWV 350 by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Robert King
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715-1717; London, England 
5.
Water Music, HWV 348-350 by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Robert King
Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1715/1736; London, England 

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