Notes and Editorial Reviews
2009 Gramophone Award Winner - Best Baroque Vocal Recording
Recording of the Month - Fresh, spontaneous Coronation Anthems that leap to the top of the heap
By any standards this is a major release. Even in a year which is seeing, predictably, a glut of Handel releases, many of them extremely fine, this stands out. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen have enjoyed tremendous success at home and abroad with performances that have caught the imagination of a public outside (as well as inside) the traditional concert hall (and, to add a quick plug, they will be the subject of next month’s cover story). And here, perhaps more than in any
other of their excellent recent issues, they show just why.
This is an opulently sung and played Handel disc but also a cunning one. Christophers has thought deeply about how to pace these works, how to marshall his resources for maximum but never superficial effect. The opening of
Zadok the Priest, for instance, so familiar to us all, is here subdued, hushed and steady. When the melody opens out, The Sixteen add power and sheen, giving a sudden surge. It reminds one of the historian Charles Burney's observation of Handel (quoted by Christophers) that "when he did smile, it was his sire the sun, bursting out of a black cloud".
A tremendous issue. One to keep on the shelves and return to frequently.
-- Gramophone [4/2009]
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