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Handel: Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks

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Editors’ Notes

These are two of the prolific baroque composer George Frederic Handel’s best known orchestral works. Water Music was famously played on a 1717 royal excursion on the Thames River: while King George I’s party traveled on one boat, a group of musicians performed the piece on a nearby boat. Music for the Royal Fireworks was commissioned by King George II to celebrate the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which marked the end of the War of Austrian Succession. Evidently the fireworks display didn’t go well at the 1749 event that celebrated the signing, but the musical performance was a success. The Catalan conductor and performer Jordi Savall does wonders with Water Music on this 1993 recording. (After beginning his career as an early music specialist, he expanded his repertoire to include the work of various baroque composers, along with Haydn, Beethoven, and others.) Savall coaxes appealing timbres and great rhythmic drive out of the excellent period-instrument ensemble, Le Concert des Nations. And the conductor imbues Fireworks with a distinctive stateliness as he leads the group through a striking rendition.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful recording

I have been listening to this music for over 50 years; this is one of the very best recordings I have heard. It is lively, nuanced and has very clear textures. Its tempi are somewhat fast, but I find them very suitable for the dance-like melodies. Listen for yourself. If you don't find it charming, you're probably dead.

A Recording for a Lifetime of Pleasure

This is an extraordinary recording. Not only is Jordi Savall right on the money with his interpretation, the engineering is perfect. All the instruments are clear as a bell. His understanding of the score is unlike any other interpreter of this Masterpiece of Baroque Music. The tempi are vigorous and dance constantly as they should, and his editing of the score is impeccable. The trumpets, horns, and oboes are brilliant. I am a Baroque specialist (concert harpsichordist and Professor of Baroque Performance Practice) and have conducted this work myself. This is the finest recording of the Water Music to date. Everyone should own it.

Best Water Music

This is one of the best if not the best Handel's Water Music recording I've heard. Savall and Le Concert Des Nations bring a nunique freshness to this incomparable masterpiece of Baroque music. The clarity of the instruments and the sound are outstanding. The tempos that Savall follows are just right.


Born: 1941 in Igualada, Catalonia, Spain

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Jordi Savall is among the leading instrumentalists and conductors of the European early music scene, specializing in Renaissance and medieval music. He began studying music when he was six, learning cello and pursuing that instrument at the Barcelona Conservatory. He took an interest in early music, and began learning the viola da gamba. That instrument possesses approximately the same range and similar playing technique as the cello, but instead of being a member of the violin family is part of...
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