Jordi Savall's exemplary performance of Handel's Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks is among the finest available on disc: refined and precise, but very big, with blood-stirring grandeur. This is just the kind of extroverted, rousing presentation that best highlights the music's open-air ceremonial function. Savall's Le Concert des Nations is essentially a chamber orchestra with double or triple winds, but the sound he elicits from the group is majestic and surprisingly powerful. The playing is crisp and the rhythmic articulation bracing, but the sound is never brash. In fact, more often than not it is seductively sensual, a heady integration of precision and supple, shapely phrasing. Handel left no authoritative edition of the score of Water Music and it has traditionally been divided into three suites, but Savall reorders the material into two suites, a decision that makes more sense in terms of key relationships and that sounds entirely satisfying.
The Fresh Sound label is one of the major reissue record companies, also releasing new music on their Fresh Sound New Talent subsidiary. Fresh Sound, under the direction of the tireless Jordi Pujol, has repackaged and reissued a great deal of very valuable jazz from the 1950s and early 1960s. In addition to the major names, some of their most intriguing sets focus on obscure figures from jazz history whose music has been out-of-print for decades.