…Bradley Creswick and his colleagues offer straightforward and vital modern instrument readings of these delightful gems… If your preference is modern instruments, there is no reason to pay more than the Naxos price, especially if you're interested in a bright and jaunty interpretation that is also well recorded.
…and the whole production is superbly engineered and presented with Harmonia Mundi's usual care for every detail of production. It doesn't get any better.
…But what stands out is the overall sound, the brightness and energy of the ensemble, the often rapid yet appropriate tempi. All that depends on a conductor who truly understands the music. This memorable recording is a must for lovers of Handel’s instrumental music. This bargain re-release makes it even more attractive - this is a disc to snap up right away.
Handel’s two sets of concerti grossi have been mainstays of the Baroque orchestral repertoire for many years and therefore have been embraced by ensembles around the world. They are among the few remaining examples of concertos composed early in his career. The dozen concertos of Handel’s op. 6 have eclipsed the half-dozen of op. 3 in popularity. The purpose of the set was twofold: to serve as interval music in his operas and oratorios, and—via their publication—to ensure dissemination to the various concerto societies and venues of London. Handel solicits comparison to the Corellian model by titling the set Twelve Grand Concertos and by making use of a concertino of two violins, cello, and continuo, a combination that was extremely popular at the time.
The Water Music is divided into three suites which are clearly differentiated by their tonality and instrumentation. The pieces with the lighter, more delicate instrumentation would certainly have been played indoors while the pieces with wind demanded double forces of woodwind and made their fullest effect in the open air. Handel’s other great al fresco work, the Music for the Royal Fireworks, was composed to commemorate the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. Opus 3 is, in its splendid and resourceful way, music of forceful originality and bold contours, and is derived from many varied sources - opera, anthem, Passion, even Corelli.
I Solisti Italiani is a chamber string orchestra consisting of about 12 players, known particularly for their spirited readings of works from the Baroque and Classical periods. They have performed and recorded much Vivaldi over the years and have devoted nearly as much effort to the works of Handel, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Rossini…