Despite the cover blurb, it can hardly be certain that this exact programme of material was performed at the two Vespers for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the Church of Santa Maria di Montesanto in 1709. But despite such, this is fabulous music on show here in varied musical styles, choral and solo pieces mixed with plainchant, both from the youthful Handel, who despite his Lutheran associations was recognised as a great talent and invited to compose music for the Catholic liturgy, and from the older Venetian composer Antonio Caldara.
There is a superb set of soloists employed here - soprano Roberta Invernizzi, a perennial favourite of mine, along with soprano Robin Johannsen, gorgeously voiced countertenor Martin Oro, tenor Markus Brutscher and the thunderous voice of bass Antonio Abete. The choir would normally be a little too large in number of personnel for my liking, but their sound delivers a real integrity. The orchestration is brisk and vivacious, and the recording quality is excellent. This is an unmissable disc reviving the sheer grandeur of those celebrations three centuries ago.