Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Handel, Le Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall|
Georg Friederich Handel: Water Music / Music for the Royal Fireworks - Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall
One of the best versions ever
Leonardo | 08/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This version might not surpass Hogwood for some of you but in my opinion this version outscores them ALL.This is the most brilliant, clear recorded version ever out there. Fantastic brass.Conducting, music (extremly good performed by all), tempi, sound is astonishing in its professional perfection and it is joyful and personal in every sence.Grammohone rank this set overall very high and in fact rank Music for the royal fireworks as the best version ever and I understand why.So buy it and enjoy
P.S check out Savalls versions of Bachs 6 Brandenburg concerti and Orchestral suites too because they also are extremly good."
Could have been better, but still brilliant
Leonardo | Argentina | 09/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think these pieces are a kind of portrait of how good is a chamber orchestra, specially on period instruments. Why? because if it is going to be played as the pieces deserve,it should be with passion, complete understanding od baroque musical codes (eg ornamentation, phrasing) and the utmost virtuosism. I don't play music but I feel ther horn parts must be extraordinarily difficult played without valves. So how does this recording stand against competition (Gardiner, Harnoncourt, Orpheus Chamber orch, boston baroque, tafelmusik, marriner 71'and 93', mackerras, pinnock, leppard, etc)?
Well, I have heard samples of Pinnock. Good, of course, but always typically "Brithish" that is to say, refined, trying to rescue the kindness instead of vital pulse. My first experience of these pieces was Leppard. Great recording. still many numbers are very good: vital, warm, with "period" ornamentations. A pity some numbers (eg "Air" of 1st suite) sound very old fashioned. So not a definitive recording. Orpheus chamber orchestra. I have reviewed. Modern intruments, but with "period" conventions. The problem is that they seem at times so unmusical... fast tempi when there should have been more pomp, some "flat", insensitive passages ... as I have said, "plastic Handel". Gardiner is very good but uneven, I think Fireworks deserves more majesty. Tafelmusic's watermusic have the same deffects of their "Brandenburgs": an american version of Pinnock, sorry listen to the trumpets and see how flat they are ... not a first choice. Boston Baroque I don't know.
So I keep with ... Savall and marriner. I don't know Marrienr 71' (Decca) but I love Marriner 93' (hanssler). Yes, modern instruments and some "period" conventions like Orpheus flawed recording, but here we have a great musician who has made an "uptade" in period practice but keeping that approach under the control of a extraordinary understanding of what music is about, no matter instruments. His reading is faster than Savall, I think because he takes fewer repeats. His string body is far larger, but warm and sounds "comfortable", gives a sense of "orchestral" music instead of "chamber" but at the same time flexible and transparent. Great ornamentations, and surprising instrumentations (remember there is not an autograph score, so conductors not allways agree on how to score a piece), eg in Fiirewok's Overture in the beggining of the fast section some wind passages usually played also with strings but here absent, so it achieves more variety. Overall, his strong musicianship makes a very pleasant tour of these peaces, and is a perfect example of how to be HIP without falling in the trap of "you have to imitate Kuijken and use his instruments in order to properly play Baroque".
But here I speak of savall and although I love Marriner 93' well, period instruments have great advantages in term of sonority. Period brass are simply wonderfull and no player of ASMIF can imitate the rustic sound of an ancient horn. And savall takes advantage of his excellent orchestra eg in Fireworks where period brass are pulled to their limits. Or listen to the horns of "lentement" in water music and see in terms of sound he has no competitiion of such quality. Tempi are fluid, moderate to very fast (eg the "serious" minuet of the traditional flute suite of water music), but allways musical, nothing seems unduly fast. So he achieves variety in the character of the pieces as no British conductor can.
The order of the pieces is different, he combines trumpet suite and flute suite unto 1, and leaves the horn suite as another entity. As I said there is no "Holy Score" (autograph) so it is valid and works well, but does not give an advantage of traditional editions. So here virtues, enough perhaps to make your reference choice: period instruments superbly played, a mixture of passion and elegance, control and "joy-de-vivre" (well said?). But there are some minuses: the recording is very long, because savall takes as many repeats as possible. How otherwise can justify he needs 74 min when marriner needs 63, gardiner 68 (with extra movs) and Norrington 68 (please don't !!)? in some places I think music is very repetitive but depends on your taste. And I think he is inconsistent on ornamentation. Yes, of course adds ornaments to the oboe solo of 1st or the trumpet and horn in the reprise of the hornpipe of 3rd but there are places where marriner surprises you and savall is litteral to the score. Perhaps I was expecting a bit more of imagination. That's why none of both recordings I highlited are reference per se, but must be enjoyed together. Don't miss any of them!! Both are od consistent high quality.
Leonardo | 06/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is such a genuine performance. I've never heard anything like it. It is Baroque truly the way baroque was meant to be heard. I hope everyone gets a chance to hear it."