by Daniel Hathaway
Fifty years ago, if you heard Handel’s famous Water Music or Music for the Royal Fireworks played by a symphony orchestra, it would probably have been in a sumptuous reorchestration by Sir Hamilton Harty, longtime conductor of the Hallé Orchestra. In the meantime, the historical performance movement arose and baroque music all but vanished from symphonic concerts. Now early music specialists are being invited to work with “traditional” orchestras to restore to their programs repertory written before, say, 1800 and to play it in original orchestrations in something approaching the style to which it was originally accustomed. And, of course, using “modern” instruments.
The Cleveland Orchestra has already successfully done this by inviting Bernard Labadie and Ton Koopman to guest conduct the ensemble. Last Saturday evening at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron, the Akron Symphony welcomed Apollo’s Fire founder and artistic director Jeannette Sorrell to lead music by J.S. Bach and Handel with the assistance of AF’s concertmaster Olivier Brault. As usual for these occasions, the strings were reduced to chamber orchestra proportions to obtain a leaner, lither sound. [Read more…]