Now available in discrete multi-channel surround SACD as well as the CD recording!
Boston Baroque, the acclaimed period instrument ensemble, has recorded two of Handel's classic works, Music for the Royal Fireworks and Water Music, for Telarc. Led by their founder and conductor Martin Pearlman, Boston Baroque adds freshness and life to Handel's popular works.
Music for the Royal Fireworks came about when King George II commissioned Handel to compose a work to accompany the fireworks display celebrating the signing of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Handel originally composed for an orchestra of strings, winds and percussion, but the king insisted on a very large ensemble of only "war-like" instruments—i.e., instruments without strings. The Duke of Montague, charged with overseeing the music for the event, became the unhappy intermediary in the musical standoff between Handel and the king. At the last moment, Handel complied with the king's wishes and composed for a larger ensemble. He performed the piece again one month after the premiere, using strings and fewer winds as well as a contrabassoon or serpent to reinforce the bass line. For this new recording, Pearlman chose to use the serpent to reinforce the bass line and an ad libitum part for a military field drum.
Handel's Water Music is a collection of three suites in different keys and for different instrumentation, and was originally written to serenade King George I up the Thames River to a dinner party. The Suite in G Major features flute and recorder with strings. It has the lightest texture of the three, and was probably played inside during the dinner party. The other two suites are outdoor music as they call for larger orchestra including brass. The horns in the F Major suite make a dramatic—and historic—entrance at the beginning of the third movement, this being the first piece in England to introduce horns into the orchestra. The suite in D Major has the most brilliant orchestration of the three, with both trumpets and horns added to the woodwinds and strings.
Three-time Grammy nominee Boston Baroque was the first baroque orchestra established in North America. Founded in 1973 as "Banchetto Musicale" by American conductor and harpsichordist Martin Pearlman, the ensemble has been in the vanguard of the period-instrument field for almost thirty years, and was recently described by Stereo Review as "perhaps the most outstanding period-instrument ensemble in this country." Boston Baroque is the ensemble in residence for Boston University's Historical Performance Program.
Founder, music director and conductor Martin Pearlman is among this country's leading interpreters of baroque and classical music on both period and modern instruments. Hailed for his "fresh, buoyant interpretations" and his "vivid realizations teeming with life," Pearlman has been acclaimed for more than twenty-five years in orchestral, choral and operatic repertoire from Monteverdi to Beethoven.