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John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, August 2011

Conductor Kevin Mallon’s Canadian players, the Aradia Ensemble, perform on period instruments, and the Fireworks Music boasts the first-time inclusion of a transverse flute in “La Paix,” a detail noted in the original manuscript but overlooked by most conductors. I doubt that anyone would notice the difference, but every new recording has to have a gimmick, something to differentiate it from the pack, and this one is more than a mere gimmick in that it works pretty effectively…what really sets Mallon’s recording apart, though, is that it’s not only played on period instruments, it’s fairly well recorded, it’s on a Super Audio CD (and a regular CD depending on which one you want to buy), it combines both the Water Music and the Fireworks Music on the same disc, it’s relatively cheap, and it’s a lively interpretation…

Hi-Fi Choice, May 2006

Some may ask if we need yet another version of these potboilers to add to the already extensive list available, some from much bigger names than these. But Kevin Mallon and the Canadian Aradia Ensemble are absolutely at the top of their game, and these performances have something to say that many older versions don’t. The music, like much of Handel’s output, is superb. Finally, it is on a budget label, yet has superb high-resolution sound. Some of the tempi are quite fast, especially in the Water Music, but throughout there is real attention to the dance-like character of the music. Fabulous!

Recorded in the atmospheric acoustic of St. Anne’s Church, Toronto, the SACD sound is organic, alive with detail and has a real sense of polish and verve. It’s quite a package for its pocket money pricing and a good example of what SACD (or DVD-A) can add to the party.

Andrew Quint
Fanfare, May 2006

View PDF, March 2006

Naxos' SACD of Handel's Water Music and Royal Fireworks is a superb account of both scores. These brisk performances are played on original instruments by the Toronto-based Arcadia Ensemble Their technical expertise is unquestioned and conductor Kevin Mallon, who worked with John Eliot Gardiner, has a firm grasp on performance style. The recording was made in St. Anne's Church in Toronto in January 2005, and CD notes that this is the first recording of Royal Fireworks to include a transverse flute as indicated in the original manuscript. The rather small ensemble has been superbly recorded, but I imagine most listeners would prefer the richer sounds of Boston Baroque directed by Martin Pearlman on Telarc

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