Notes and Editorial Reviews
Expectations for Dunedin Consort’s recording of Acis & Galatea were high; its release in 2008 followed on from its hugely successful recording of Handel’s Messiah. The combination of Messiah’s award-winning cast and director John Butt’s insights into authentic performance practice ensured it was met with numerous recommendations and outstanding reviews. Acis & Galatea is a beautiful pastoral entertainment; Handel’s first dramatic work in English is a simple yet highly emotional story that encompasses the extremes of love and tragedy. There are notable differences in the original performing version from 1718, including changes in instrumentation and vocal scoring (there is no alto line) made by Handel to suit the forces at Cannons. Butt chose this version specifically because of the small forces involved, since this was one of the aspects that made Messiah so distinctive; although there have been ‘first versions’ of Acis recorded before, Butt felt that there were certain aspects of the original version that had not yet been sufficiently realized.