HANDEL:  Water Music (complete)
Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch/Eduard van Beinum, cond.

BEETHOVEN:  Piano Concerto No. 1 in C, Op. 15.  Piano Concerto 4 in G, Op. 58
Robert Casadesus, pianist; Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orch/Eduard van Beinum, cond.

Early in July 1958 Philips recorded Eduard van Beinum and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra in Handel's Water Music and the Brahms Violin Concerto (with violinist Arthur Grumiaux). The Brahms concerto has been issued several times on CD, but the Handel had the misfortune of being included in the first batch of Philips Legendary Classics CD issues (420 857) subjected to the notoriously inadequate No Noise transfer process which eliminated resonance, dynamic range, high frequencies and gave the listener absolute silence during every pause in the music.  On this miserable Philips CD the original Handel stereo recording was issued mono, perhaps because of its coupling, Bach's Suite No. 2, which is a mono recording made mid-1955. Enough of the tragic past history of this spectacular performance/recording of Handel's glorious music!

Van Beinum's Concertgebouw Water Music is utterly magnificent, full-bodied and played to the hilt.  This is a grand, full-orchestra treatment of Handel's score, not lacking delicacy when required.  Interplay of woodwinds and brass is extraordinary...and those French horns!  The recording remains one of the best ever made by Philips engineers in the renowned concert hall, beautifully capturing the orchestra's distinctive sound. This transfer to CD was made from a pristine Festivo Philips LP. 

The two Beethoven concertos with Robert Casadesus as soloist were recorded March 1/2, 1959 -- the last commercial recordings made by Van Beinum; he died of a heart attack April 13, 1959 while rehearsing the orchestra in Brahms' Symphony No. 1. This is the only recorded collaboration of the French pianist and Van Beinum, although Casadesus was a great favorite in Amsterdam.  The Beinum/Casadesus no-nonsense, direct approach to the scores meant it was possible to issue both of them on one LP.  Although Jan van Bart's Discografie van het Concertgebouworkest lists these recordings as mono, actually they were done  in superb stereo and issued in that format on a Columbia Odyssey LP, a pristine copy of which was the source of this SD reissue.

Both of these were at one time available from Haydn House—unfortunately the organization has deleted them from their catalog; if you're lucky you might find

R.E.B. (Aug. 2002)