Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Handel - Music For Royal Occasions - King's Consort/King

Rating: 5/5

Excellent early Handel

A favourable review of a King's Consort recording of Handel won't surprise anyone, but this is a very fine disc of early works by Handel, whose music was already showing that mastery of melody, harmonic invention and brilliant use of instrumentation which makes him a truly great composer. There is some truly excellent stuff here, from the wonderfully beautiful soprano and trumpet duet which opens Eternal Source of Light Divine to the mighty closing choral "Alleluia, amen" of Sing Unto God. It's a lovely programme.

The performances are excellent. You would expect this from the array of star soloists and they don't disappoint, but The King's Consort is also littered with names like Catherine Mackintosh, Mark Caudle, Crispian Steele-Perkins, James O'Donnell and other giants of the early music scene who make this something really special. It is all beautifully judged and superbly performed. I'm sorry to gush, but I really do think this is exemplary Handel playing and singing.

With Hyperion's usual excellent recorded sound and good, interesting notes, this is a cracking disc all round and very warmly recommended.

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