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Ten years ago Robert King and The King's Consort made a stunning recording of Handel's ; now comes the turn of the Water Music, and the results are even more impressive.
George Philipp Telemann's Wassermusik (commonly known as 'Hamburger Ebb und Fluth' – an oblique reference to the local method of sewage disposal!) was composed for a grand celebration of seafaring life during 1723. The music was noted at the time for being 'uncommonly well-suited to the occasion', and not least for its subject-matter: Telemann guides his audience through a pageant of aquatic folklore and meteorology.
Six years earlier Handel had been commissioned for a directly comparable occasion: an enormous party on the river Thames given by George I. A large orchestra was present on the musicians' barge: a good-size string section and a substantial wind presence. The sound of a large baroque wind band produces a magnificent sonority. Similarly, a colourful continuo force on the river seems probable. The rhythmic impetus of a pair of baroque guitars combined with the colours of two harpsichords lends the music a vital danceband-like rhythm section, much in keeping with the King's colourful intentions for his evening's entertainment!
All faithfully recreated, of course. Except for the barge.