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When worse = better (Hall of Fame #86)

After a hiatus, I'm diving back into my countdown through Classic FM's top 100 popular classics. Handel makes his first appearance at 86 with his well-loved Water Music suites (although I think the German Wassermusik has a better ring to it). If you want to hear most recognisable section first, skip ahead to 28:36 in the video below.

My YouTube searches so far have revealed a decent number of Historically Informed Performances, and the Water Music video here is one of them. You can tell it's a HIP because the instruments they're playing look (and sound - more on this to come) like the instruments Handel would have composed for. The oboes, for instance, resemble giant peppermills. The horns and trumpets are valveless, relying instead on different lengths of coil.

This dedication to authenticity does, I'm sure, result in a performance that sounds closer to what King George I would have originally heard. And there's value in that. But there's also value in instruments that can actually play in tune. Just listen to the brass from around 34:42. While the debate about which is preferable rolls on, I look forward to the ultimate goal in authenticity - putting all these musicians on a massive barge floating up the Thames. Let's hear Wassermusik like it was intended!

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