Neville Marriner

Handel: Feuerwerksmusik; Wassermusik

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Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields made this album of George Frederick Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks and Water Music in 1993, so collectors may distinguish this reissue from the group's 1988 performance on EMI, or their 1971 recording on Argo. Marriner and his world-renowned ensemble have a proven track record, having been pioneers in the early music field since the 1960s, and they have been consistent in the quality of their period-style playing, albeit on modern instruments. The Handel pieces presented here have all the features one expects from these esteemed musicians: crisp attacks, bright tone colors, agile rhythms, and an orchestral sound that is characteristic of Baroque performance practice in its clean lines and transparent textures. One complaint some specialists may make of Marriner's interpretations is that the emotional temperature is a bit cool and the expressions are reserved and not as exciting as other artists offer in these works; a comparison with, say, Trevor Pinnock's vivid renditions with the English Concert on period instruments may support this point. But for anyone who simply wants fine performances of Music for the Royal Fireworks and Water Music that tastefully and intelligently present the scores, Marriner's are hard to beat.

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