Handel: Water Music; Mozart: Epistle Sonatas
Thurston Dart; Boyd Neel; George Szell
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4828531
Barcode
00028948285310
Format
1-CD
About

Handel orchestral favourites from the 1950s in a winning combination of old-school polish and unaffected stylistic refinement.

 

With this and several other albums, Eloquence celebrates the art of Thurston Dart, the harpsichordist, conductor and editor who played a leading role in the early-music revival in postwar Britain. After his death in 1971 at the age of just 49, his fellow harpsichordist Igor Kipnis paid fulsome tribute to ‘a man of many parts’, whose 1954 volume on The Interpretation of Music had attained testamentary authority among his fellow musicians, matched by the skill, style and flourish of his many recordings: ‘He was the ideal musicologist-performer.’

 

Kipnis singled out this 1959 L’Oiseau-Lyre recording of the Water Music as a classic. Alongside the legendary winds-only account of the Fireworks Music led by Sir Charles Mackerras it was chosen by Stereo Review in 1964 as a defining album in a general introduction to Baroque culture: ‘I cannot think of two other Baroque recordings that I could recommend more unreservedly.’ Dart and his colleague Brian Priestman attempted to reassemble the whole of the Water Music as it had first been heard, on a fine summer’s evening in 1717, played on barges sailing down the Thames.

 

In his own booklet notes, reprinted in this Eloquence reissue, Dart explained that the LP format had necessitated the omission of some repeats in the music, but that ‘the orchestration on this disc is Handel’s throughout – he was one of the most skilful orchestrators of the 18th century, and may be presumed to have understood what he was doing’.

 

The couplings are drawn from a pair of Decca albums: overtures directed by Boyd Neel (in 1954) and George Szell (in 1961) with a chaste restraint and lively rhythmic precision that complements the extrovert fantasy of Dart’s performing instincts. Added are two of the Mozart Epistle Sonatas recorded in 1956

TRACK LISTING / ARTISTS

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685–1759)

 

Water Music*                                                                                                                                               

1–8 Suite in F Major, HWV 348

9–12 Suite in G major, HWV 350

13–17 Suite in D Major, HWV 349

Philomusica of London

Thurston Dart

 

18 Alcina, HWV 34: Overture*

19 Berenice, HWV 38: Overture*

Boyd Neel Orchestra

Boyd Neel

 

20 Il Pastor Fido, HWV 8c: Minuet (arr. Beecham)

21 Serse, HWV 40: Largo (arr. Reinhard)

London Symphony Orchestra

George Szell

 

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756–1791)

22 Epistle Sonata in F major, KV 244*

23 Epistle Sonata in G major, KV 274*

Philomusica of London

Thurston Dart, organ & conductor

 

 

*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

Track previews
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in D Major HWV 349: 11. Prelude
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in F Major HWV 348: 2. Adagio e staccato
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in G Major HWV 350: 20. Gigue
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in G Major HWV 350: 17. Rigaudon I and II
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in G Major HWV 350: 19. Menuet & Trio
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in F Major HWV 348: 8. Bourée and Hornpipe
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in F Major HWV 348: 7. Gavotte
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in F Major HWV 348: 6. Minuet
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in F Major HWV 348: 5. Air
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in F Major HWV 348: 4. Jig
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in F Major HWV 348: 3. Hornpipe and Andante
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in F Major HWV 348: 1. Overture
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in D Major HWV 349: 12. Hornpipe
Epistle Sonata in G Major, K. 274
Epistle Sonata in F Major, K. 244
Serse, HWV 40: Largo
Il Pastor Fido HWV 8c: Menuet
Berenice, HWV 38: Overture
Alcina, HWV 34: Overture
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in D Major HWV 349: 13. Minuet
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in D Major HWV 349: 15. Bourée
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in D Major HWV 349: 14. Lentement
Water Music Suite - Water Music Suite in G Major HWV 350: 21. Minuet I - Minuet II - Country Dance
Recording information

Recording Producers: unidentified (Water Music, Mozart); Peter Andry (Alcina, Berenice); John Culshaw (Il Pastor Fido, Serse)

Balance Engineers: unidentified (Water Music, Alcina, Berenice, Mozart); Kenneth Wilkinson (Il Pastor Fido, Serse)

Recording Locations: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London, UK, January 1959 (Water Music); Decca Studio 3, West Hampstead, London, UK, 12, 21, 23, 26 & 27 July 1954 (Alcina, Berenice); Watford Town Hall, London, 27–29 August 1961 (Il Pastor Fido, Serse); London, UK, 1956 (Mozart)

Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer

Original LP Releases: L’Oiseau-Lyre SOL 60010 (Water Music Suite); Decca LW 5147 (Alcina, Berenice); LXT 5666/SXL 2302 (Il Pastor Fido, Serse); L’Oiseau-Lyre OL 50162 (Mozart)

Reviews

‘The Overtures to Alcina and Berenice are played by the Boyd Neel group with the freshness and hearty gusto typical of that group.’ High Fidelity, September 1956

 

‘Let’s face it, today there is no substitute for Handel’s Water Music in its complete and original form … Now we have a first-rate stereo version […] with Thurston Dart at the conductorial helm. His is an intimate lyrical approach […] and it would be hard to imagine a more captivating performance.’ Stereo Review, May 1960

 

‘[Szell] and his Londoners play with so much expressive warmth and infectious verve, and the stereoism is so glowing and well-balanced, that no one but a puritanical Handelian could resist this wealth of romantic charm.’ High Fidelity, August 1962