Hervé Niquet’s period band performed this music as it was intended, as entertainment. The raucous natural horns, though they may not have always hit every note perfectly, as to be to be expected in live performances with these old instruments, made a terrific sound. The period oboes blended beautifully with recorders to give some sonorous sounds. A special mention must be given to the large line up of natural trumpets that did a superb job.
The Music for the Royal Fireworks may not have had the line-up of twenty four oboes that were used in the Kings Consort’s recreation of the first performance in their Hyperion recording but, given that Handel wanted strings and the King did not, this was a performance that Handel would have loved. www.hyperion-records.co.uk
Was it surprising that a French band seemed perfectly attuned to Handel’s music? Not at all, for though Britain adopted Handel with enthusiasm, he was of course originally German and travelled extensively in his youth.
The Royal Albert Hall provided a suitably large acoustic for this essentially outdoor music. Such was the visual impact of this concert with Hervé Niquet flamboyantly moving around the platform that I’m glad I was able to both listen and see the performance and, switched through my amplifier to use my Quad speakers, the sound was fabulous. No matter how good the sound at home, I still wished I had been there for the live event.
You can still catch this concert on BBC iPlayer www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01lvcnl/BBC_Proms_2012_Season_Handels_Water_Music/
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