Handel Water Music - best CD? - Performance Recording

Am looking to purchase a CD or set containing the aforementioned works of Handel. Although I've been searching quite extensively I have found little information or reviews… and there are a VAST number of recordings to choose from.

At current, I am gravitating towards newer recordings, the assumption being that these will offer better sound (recording quality). I know that this is far from conclusive and lacks the all-important consideration of performance/acoustic qualities (of venue).

Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Two excellent performances on historic instruments:

Nicholas McGegan, Harmonia Mundi 2907010
(good performance, extremely well recorded)

Trevor Pinnock, Archiv 410525
(a outstanding performance, somewhat less well recorded)
Those are both great picks if you like the historical instrument sound. If you want the Water Music played on modern instruments get Academy of St. Martin-in-the-fields; Neville Marriner on Argo label 414-596-2

Also includes the Royal Fireworks Music.

I concur with your suggestion for a modern instruments performance, Sugarbie. Marriner and the ASMF are almost always an enjoyable source for lively, well-thought performances.
I own the Pinnock/Archive, and no one will argue that it belongs near the top of any list. Also agree that McGegan/HM
has excellent sound, but my first choice is Hogwood/Lyre which also has beautiful sound. Sold as reduced price double disc which includes Royal Fireworks and several assorted concerti. L'oiseau Lyre was way ahead of other labels in the 1980s making quality digital CD recordings.

I do much prefer period instruments for this work vs modern instruments.
Thanks for the leads, but I'd like to know what you mean by modern instruments. ...Do you mean period true instruments vs. current reproductions?

Gerard Schwarz, Los Angles Chamber Orchestra on Delos. The recording was done in late 1980. It is a two mike, true stereo recording. IMHO it is OUTSTANDING.
mike: "period" or "historic" instruments means instruments of the kind played at the time of the composition. obviously, these are the instruments of the variety for which the composition was written. such instruments may have been constructed in the 17th century or 1998; no difference, at least definitionally. "modern" instruments, on the other hand, means instruments you would see and hear today if you attended a symphonic or other concert. there is often a striking difference between versions of the same composition played on modern and historic instruments. both varieties of playings of handel's works are worth a listen. -kelly
Many violins played in modern orchestras date back to the days of Handel and Mozart; the difference is the historic orchestras use the old gut strings, so there is a lighter sound. Also they are not tuned the same. I cannot remember which way it goes, but what is say a normal B note in Handel's time is now either a B flat or B sharp today. So when you listen to a historic recording, you not only hear the gut strings, you are also listening to the music a half a note different than a modern performance. Since historic performances sound higher pitched to me, the modern tuning is probably a half note lower.

I usually prefer modern (not always). I always prefer modern instruments at the Dentist.

Don't buy without hearing Sir Charles Mackerras conducting
the Orchestrea of St. Luke's on the Telarc label!!!
Thanks ALL - for your information & recommendations!

Kelly/Sugarbrie – I’d suspected there WAS more to it than what might seem obvious, though I'd never truly considered what differences might exist between real “period instruments” and reproductions. …Especially something as simple as bow string composition vs. pitch etc.

I find it incredible that even by today’s standards; with our “technological superiority” the products of old world craftsmen/artisans are considered superior. …Benchmarks without equal, imbued with intangible and illusive qualities. (e.g. Stradivarius).

Thanks again,
There are some very nice string instruments made today. They just have not had 300 years to gather a following.
The Trevor Pinnock 1984 Archive/Digital recording of Water Music, is even more spectacular than his recording of the Bach Brandenburgs. This performance has a rightness to it that leads one to believe that you need'nt purchase any other Water Music ever again. I really believe in this performance more than any other issued. Pinnock released Water Music in analog on the CRD record label years before this, but the sound (yes the sound) and performance in no way matched the Archive/Digital sessions.
The LP IS superior to the CD on this performance. There is a better rendering of hall ambience, from the outstanding acoustics of London's Henry Wood Hall. The LP should be widely available on the used market. The CD will do just fine, though, if you cant find a copy........Frank
I want to post a rare recording by Collegium Aureum under EMI release (originally Deutsche Harmonia Mundi's copyright). It is also on historic instruments. Passionate interpretation and splendid coloring.

Also, other suggested Collegium Aureum recording:

1. Vivaldi's OP. 8 No.1 - 12 (No.1 - No.4 known as The Four Seasons)

2. Handel's Concerti Grossi, OP. 6

I am not affiliated with Collegium Aureum at all.

Happy listening.

Megasam is dead on on this one
Handel's Water Music

Pinnock is nice, but Hogwood Academy of Ancient Music is the best I have heard

the other Handel pieces by Hogwood/AoAM are great too

for Brandenburg Concertos
I Musica is very well recorded and performed