Sunday 5 August 2012

Handel’s Water Music and Fireworks Music as they should be played

I missed the late night Prom concert on 18th July 2012 when Hervé Niquet directed his Concert Spirituel in performances of Handel’s Water suites and Music for the Royal Fireworks. Luckily I managed to catch the televised repeat last night as this was a terrific concert.

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.

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.

See other Prom reviews:

Last Night of the Proms 2012 with Nicola Benedetti, Joseph Calleja and Team GB’s Olympic medallists

A Memorable Concert from Bernard Haitink and the Vienna Philharmonic at the BBC Proms

BBC Prom - Max’s Ninth, fine Delius from Tasmin Little and an Impressive Shostakovich Tenth from Vasily Petrenko

Subtle Saint-Saëns from Benjamin Grosvenor at the Proms

A Battlefield at the Proms

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