14 June, 2011

Editor's Note: Simple Joy

Editor's Note: Simple Joy

Recently, I have been listening to this cheap Naxos Handel recording. Since I am not really an opera buff, of all Handel's music, the Water Music and Royal Fireworks, both written for festive occasions and often paired on records, are my favorites. This performance conveys great joy and led me to much thinking.

First, kudos to the composer for showing us how simple can joyful music be! By later standards, the music is rather simple, yet the composer conveyed joy in a manner few later composers, even with much bigger orchestras at hand, can emulate. Here we don't have canons and bass-drums, no trombones and tuba, and the percussion is mostly limited to a set of tympani and decorated by the flourish of a side-drum here and there. Yet the music races along from the word go.

Then there is Naxos to thank for spoiling us with endless offerings of goodies at budget price. And the sound has improved remarkably in years, to the point that the company must be counted as one of the most reliable sonically, a miracle given the disparate venues they work on. through my Kondo M7 preamp, the sound is excellent, and the side-drum has such a tactile quality it made me jump at several places!

This leads me to thinking yet again: Simple is best! It is too bad modern hifi, especially CAS, can get so complicated (when a simple vinyl setup completely kills CAS). And recordings, we have pretentious (and unproven) engineers who tell us things are so advanced that using dozens of intrusive microphones can solve everything when many well-proven world-famous engineers still use as few as possible, and when we still listen to minimally miked recordings with joy. Be humble, and be simple!

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