Philip Ledger / Charles Mackerras / David Willcocks

Handel: Water & Fireworks Music; Coronation Anthems

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AllMusic Review by

Beginners who are looking for a satisfying introductory package to the music of George Frederick Handel should consider this 2009 twofer from EMI Classics, which brings together his most popular orchestral works, the Music for the Royal Fireworks and Water Music, in a convenient pairing with the Coronation Anthems. There is no reason to settle for less than this, since the major labels have realized that even cost-cutter packages need something extra to entice listeners, and the two suites by themselves are no longer sufficient to attract listeners with digital downloading capabilities. Charles Mackerras leads the London Symphony Orchestra in his own idiomatic arrangement for brass, woodwinds, and drums of the Fireworks Music, and the pomp and ceremony of the Hanoverian court are certainly evoked in this 1976 performance. In the three Water Music suites, recorded in 1978, Mackerras conducts the Prague Chamber Orchestra, and though the mood is substantially more intimate than in the first work, the playing has a similar regal dignity. The Coronation Anthems -- The King shall rejoice, Zadok the Priest, Let thy hand be strengthened, and My heart is inditing -- are given stirring interpretations by Philip Ledger and the King's College Choir, Cambridge, dating from 1982, and the additional 1965 performance of Dixit Dominus, led by David Willcocks, rounds out the package with nobility and passion. Because of the range of dates and the inclusion of ADD and DDD recordings, the sound quality might be questioned, but EMI's engineering is quite even and the reproduction is clear and clean, if not especially warm.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Music for the Royal Fireworks, for orchestra, HWV 351
1 12:50
2 01:40
3 04:05
4 03:06
5 01:22
6 02:54
Water Music Suite No.1 for orchestra in F major, HWV 348
7 04:19
8 02:16
9
3.
02:32
10 02:23
11 02:34
12
5.
03:22
13 03:53
14 03:04
15 01:56
16 02:14
17
10.
02:49
Water Music Suite No.3 for orchestra in G major, HWV 350
18
16.
03:22
19 01:13
20
18.
00:51
21 00:44
22 01:00
23
20.
02:12
24
21.
00:32
25
22.
00:32
26 00:30
Water Music Suite No.2 for orchestra in D major, HWV 349
27
11.
02:20
28 03:16
29 01:15
30 01:55
31 01:10
32 01:16

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The King Shall Rejoice, coronation anthem No. 2 for chorus & orchestra, HWV260
1 03:06
2 03:26
3 00:31
4 02:36
5 03:12
6 06:11
Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened, coronation anthem No. 4 for chorus & orchestra, HWV 259
7 03:24
8 02:35
9 02:19
My Heart Is Inditing, coronation anthem No. 3 for chorus & orchestra, HWV 261
10 03:05
11 02:53
12 03:07
13 03:13
Dixit Dominus, hymn for soloists, chorus & orchestra in G minor, HWV 232
14 07:06
15 03:12
16 03:21
17 03:12
18 01:52
19 07:30
20 03:32
21 07:08
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