John Eliot Gardiner’s recording was made live at the Göttingen Festival in 1988 … the exhilaration and intensity of the performance come over vividly, with superb singing from both chorus and an almost ideal line-up of soloists … as for the Monteverdi Choir, their clarity, incisiveness and beauty are a constant delight.(Penguin Guide)
Despite the use of period instruments, including some fine blaring natural horns, this couldn't be called a historically informed performance of Handel's Royal Fireworks Music, HWV 351. The work was not composed for a pleasant onboard afternoon musicale like the Water Music, but instead was part of an event that would have been one of the top items on CNN Headline News for 1749: the celebration of the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, brokered by King George II.
"Greer is a highly accomplished player of the natural horn… I find Greer's playing very musicianly: unusually graceful in the phrasing of the quick movements, with gentle, thoughtful playing in K417 and some lovely smooth and clear lines in K495, while the slow movements are all beautifully done—the Romance of K447 refined and graceful, that of K495 often truly poetic with happy details of timing. And there is no shortage of wit in the finales, or of high spirits. Greer improvises his cadenzas: in the first movement of K495 he does, rightly I think, simply a longish flourish, with no reference to the themes of the movement." (Stanley Sadie, Gramophone Magazine)
These lamentations are beautifully conceived by Zelenka who has a knack for providing wonderful melodies imbued with mysticism and dignity both for chorus and orchestra. Each lamentation is about twenty four minutes long and is split into two parts that contain some crafty, intelligent writing. The three soloists are quite magnificent in their portrayals of Christ's passion with Michael George particularly impressive in all pieces.
The Chandos Baroque Players are always up to the forefront of proceedings and provide admirably succinct accompaniments. Hyperion has also retained the excellent notes that accompanied the original issue and as I already mentioned, this is now one of the most satisfying releases in the sterling Helios series.(Gerald Fenech)
Perhaps the leading post-Harnoncourt cellist in the early music movement, Christophe Coin has developed a particular interest in music of late eighteenth century Vienna. He began studying the cello as a child in Caen, then enrolled in the Paris Conservatory, where his principal teacher was André Navarra. After taking first prize in a conservatory competition, Coin moved to Vienna where, at the Academy for Music, he became a disciple of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and performed in the latter's Concentus Musicus.