At the center of the movement for authentic performances of early music, Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert have been arbiters of taste and technique for decades. Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks has undergone many attempts at authenticity, but none are finer than this explosive recording. Performed here in its original 1749 version, and with 24 oboes, 12 bassoons, nine horns, nine trumpets, contrabassoon, nine kettledrums, and three side drums, the music is as glorious and bold as any could wish. The Overture by itself is worth the price of admission, but the gorgeous lines of "La Paix" and the splendid sectional contrasts of the minuets ought not be missed. The Concerto in F major will sound familiar to those who know Handel's Water Music since it is a reworking of two movements from that collection. However, the Concerto in D major will bring a feeling of déjà vu because its first and third movements are earlier versions of the Fireworks music heard earlier. To conclude this program (and in emulation of the composer's self-borrowings), Pinnock has constructed an Occasional Suite in D major from various Handel pieces to complement the Overture from the Occasional Oratorio.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Music for the Royal Fireworks, for orchestra, HWV 351|
|Concerto in D major, HWV 335a|