Handel: Water Music; Concerto Grosso in C (Alexander’s Feast)

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LABELS: Philips
WORKS: Water Music; Concerto Grosso in C (Alexander’s Feast)
PERFORMER: Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Neville Marriner
CATALOGUE NO: 434 729-2 ADD (1980)
In its heyday, the ASMF’s ‘early music’ recordings won many hearts, not least because it did attempt to capture something of ‘period style’, albeit using modern instruments. Faster movements are generally spirited (if somewhat four-square) and ornamentation is tasteful (if a little too discreet). But the slower dances are overlaid with a soft-focus haze which robs the music of its natural grace, and the approach overall is one of deferential blandness. Antony Bye