Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|George Frederick Handel, Jordi Savall, Le Concert des Nations|
Handel: Water Music; Music for the Royal Fireworks [Hybrid SACD]
Extraordinary! - Another Savall Success
J. Poss | Pahrump, Nevada | 08/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here we have the second reissue of, by far, the best performance of Handel's Water Music and Fireworks music to be found anywhere! At the time of this writing the first re-issue of this recording is selling for $224 here on Amazon just to show you how valued this performance is. Here the Alia Vox engineer, Nicolas de Beco, has taken this 16 bit 44.1 kHz sampled recording from 1993 and re-mastered it into a suburb surround (multi-channel 5.0) SACD. No information is given as to weather this was an original multi-channel recording or if DSP was employed to add the additional channels. Nor are we told if upsampling was employed in the conversion to the SACD format, but the results are superb! This transfer makes this recording even more attractive than the original which was already at the top of its class. My only wish is that Jordi Savall would have re-recording this music in true high definition SACD sound which would have made this recording even more attractive.
IN COMPARISON TO OTHER SACD RECORDINGS
I have other SACD recordings of Handel's Water Music and Fireworks music but they pale in comparison to Jordi Savall's joyful performance. For instance the Aradia Ensemble on a Naxos SACD is one of the worst recordings I've ever heard. The problem with the Aradia Ensemble recording is that the engineers placed the microphones too far from the orchestra so it seems as if the listener is sitting at the back of the church. I don't know about you, but if I pay premium prices for an SACD I want a front row seat or even a seat in the middle of the orchestra, but not a seat 100 feet away! This recording is also plagued by a boring performance from the Acadia Ensemble. The other Handel Water and Fireworks music on SACD is the one by L'Art Dell Arco on CPO that just came out. This performance is good but again the recording engineers have ruined this SACD by choosing an acoustically dead venue to record in!
Thank God Jordi Savall's recording was made in the acoustically rich sounding Chateau de Cardona and Jordi's group gives a passionate performance. Listen to the Bourree from the second suite (Track 19) and you'll find one of the most delectable gems of this performance. Also, the brass is particularly gorgeous in this recording. THIS IS A MUST HAVE SACD!
FYI - I'm still waiting for a new multi-channel SACD recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons from Jordi Savall. That would be the ultimate!!
R. Davis | California | 03/05/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a huge Jordi Savall devotee and have seen him twice in concert both performing and conducting. I also have many of his recordings.
Actually I'm quite disappointed. I'm not fond of the majority of this recording. I had really high hopes.
First, the sonics are just fair. I don't doubt that the source recordings were 16bit, 44.1khz (CD quality), as it is harsh and fatiguing. There is nothing warm or inviting about the sound.
Second, the tempos are so fast I had to wonder if Jordi actually sat down to actually listen to this. Most movements are so fast as to blur the notes together. Where is the pacing? This is Water Music, not Indi-500 music. It should be languid and fluid and moderately serene at times. It's none of that. I have several recordings of these pieces. I too am a big fan of the Pinnock version and I was hoping for a sonic improvement. It is not, and the arrangements are a huge let down. What's the hurry? No time to savor the notes...
Teemacs | Switzerland | 09/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These are two of the most brilliant pieces of light music ever written, and are particular favourites of mine. I'm a big devotee of Pinnock's 1983 Water Music and my favourite Fireworks goes back to the old Jean-François Paillard all-wind version of about a million years ago. So now along comes something to challenge them both. While I'd hesitate to label these versions as "the best", they are certainly right up there with the leaders.
This recording is about 15 years old, but has been remastered and issued on hybrid CD-SACD. It really is rather good, nicely played and crisply recorded, the original instruments caught very nicely.
I shall need some time to get used to the Water Music. Why? Because it is quite a different arrangement. For a long time, only Sir Hamilton Harty's (shortened) arrangement was played, and then, with the upsurge in interest in baroque music in the 1960s, this was filled out with other bits, until there emerged a new "standard" version (the one used by nearly all the more recent versions, including Pinnock). This is the one I'm used to, and to hear the bits I think of as "the end" coming at the beginning is slightly disconcerting. Of course, nobody knows exactly what was played on that day, and it is likely that different suites (sharing some material) were played at different parts of the King's aquatic excursion. So, this version is as "correct" as any other. And of course the individual bits are marvellous, no matter what the order. Another slightly disconcerting thing; I've never before heard a Water Music with timpani, which, to me, don't go so well with the dances (gavottes, bourrées and hornpipes) which make up the suites.
The order for the Fireworks is well known, the only problem being, strings or no strings? The original was all "military" instruments (the King's express wish), but Handel added strings to later performing versions. It all bounces along nicely, with the centrepiece, "La Réjouissance" being particularly effective.