Roger Norrington

Handel: Water Music; Music for the Royal Fireworks

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Recorded in 1996, Roger Norrington's album of Handel's Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks, performed with the brilliant London Classical Players, is a worthy offering that fans of Baroque period practice will enjoy with only minor quibbles. Because Norrington has rearranged Water Music by combining the Suite in D major and the Suite in F major to form a more tonally varied and balanced suite, as well as to match the number of pieces in the corresponding Suite in F major, some traditionalists may object to the new ordering; because Norrington takes most movements faster than is conventional, some listeners may find the familiar Air and other slow pieces go by too quickly for their liking. Similarly in the Fireworks Music, Norrington maintains a swift pace, even in "La Paix," which is usually taken as a slow siciliana, not at the jaunty tempo heard here. But if Norrington's need for speed doesn't bother you, then there is much in these historically informed performances that is quite enjoyable, particularly in the sonorous brass playing that makes the Suite in D major and the Fireworks Music so thrilling. Virgin's sound is vibrant and bold, and the volume is quite high throughout, so adjust levels accordingly.

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