…Whatever reservations one might harbor about this or that individual performance, it is unlikely that this set as a whole will be surpassed in the near future. It belongs in every serious music library, private or public.
"…Stefan Irmer has clearly studied and truly learned this music. So often on a disc of rarely performed music one gets the feeling that the pianist is sight-reading the notes in order to make a recording of previously unrecorded music. Not so here. Irmer performs with wonderful clarity, variety of tone, panache, and commitment. He truly sells the music.
Natural recorded sound, capturing very well the 1901 Steinway used for the recording, rounds out a delightful disc." ~Fanfare
You might think that Handel's Water Music, HWV 348-350, arguably the most familiar piece of Baroque music (the Four Seasons of Vivaldi can give it a run for its money, but its popularity is more recent), has received every possible interpretation. And you would be wrong, as the musicians of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin have shown in this Harmonia Mundi release, precisely recorded in Berlin's Teldex studio. You get a steady parade of innovations here, marked overall by, but not in the least restricted to, blisteringly fast tempos that turn the horn-dominated movements into tests of virtuosity. Unexpected dynamic contrasts and the unusual rhythmic treatment of the "Overture" to the Suite No. 1 (sample track one) are other novelties, but this veteran group is not out for shock value. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin operate without a conductor, and their coordination in these crisp prestos is worth the price of admission in itself. Their ability to act as one in really unusual shapings of each individual movement is remarkable, and the treacherous horn parts are near perfection in the hands of Erwin Wieringa and Miroslav Rovenský.