Mstation Classical Reviews

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Mon, 31 Oct 2005

Handel, Water Music DVD

G.F Handel, Water Music
The English Consort
Andrew Manze
DVD, BBC/Opus Arte

This DVD is about a recreation of the performance circumstances of this famous piece of music. We are taken through what London was like in those days and the circumstance and difficulties of performing on a barge while floating down the river Thames. We are also introduced to the political aspect of the thing: George I was worried about the popularity of his son, the Prince of Wales, and wanted to demonstrate his power and magnificence by putting on a big show.

A really lifelike creation was actually impossible. The Thames is much narrower for one thing, and less calm. The surrounding noise pollution is also severe, not to mention the fact that most people live a goodly way away from it. And there's light pollution as well which takes away from that sort of spectacle. Never mind, the carefully renovated barge looked the part as did the musicians kitted out in their period gear -- both sexes dressed as men because they didn't have professional female musicians in those days. That sort of thing was meant for the drawing or music rooms.

It's a nice performance and there are lots of pretty pictures of boats floating on the Thames.

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