Handel: Watermusic; Telemann / Dombrecht, Il Fondamento

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I reviewed another pairing of these works, by Robert King and company for Hyperion, in 21:3. Dombrecht's set was actually recorded earlier (1995 and 1996), though there's no indication of the date of release or copyright on the disc (something to drive drudges and discographers mad). Dombrecht's group, after a debut on Accent, made two discs in 1994 for Vanguard's Passacaille collection. This seems to be their most recent issue. More's the pity.

The disc made an immediate impression. The warmth of the oboes and the liveliness of the trills in the opening of the F-Major suite from the Handel Water Music presaged a very pleasant hour ahead. Indeed, this is a most enjoyable recording, with high marks on every score. The breadth and liveliness of the sound for the Handel, combined with clarity of detail, is notable. Dombrecht leads a performance with much expression in the shaping of the lines. The melodies carry the listener forward, and the rhythmic punctuation from the accompanying ensemble is incisive. I particularly enjoyed the contributions of II Fondamento's horns, but the ensemble is strong all around.

The sound for the Telemann, recorded the following year, is not quite as present, and the contributions of the wind pair (flutes, recorders, oboes, depending on the movement) can be overmatched. The interpretation might also be a little freer rhythmically. I could hear more stamping from the shoes of the "merry sailors" who close out the suite, for example.

Nevertheless, this is a fine disc. I will wager that if it makes it in your door it will stay close by your CD player. Recommended.

-- Tom Moore, Fanfare

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: PAS9513

  • UPC: 5425004845139

  • Label: Passacaille

  • Composer: Georg Philipp Telemann, George Frideric Handel

  • Conductor: Paul Dombrecht

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Il Fondamento