This recording of the Handel Coronation Anthems from 1727 is just about the best there is on CD at the moment. King's College Cambridge choir is rightly celebrated as probably the best cathedral choir in Europe if not the world. What sticks out here is the clarity of the diction of the singers, and the beautifully shaped lines that Stephen Cleobury manages to tease from the choir and the Academy of Ancient Music, who record the anthems here for the first time.
That said, the major recommendation of this CD comes from a ravishing performance of the little known birthday ode that Handel wrote for Queen Anne in 1713. Probably unperformed in Handel's lifetime (Queen Anne was ill apparently at the occasion when this was to be performed), there is more than a echo of Purcell whom Handel certainly admired and whose music he knew well. Eternal Source of Light Divine has only been recorded twice - both with James Bowman singing the glorious alto part. Whilst the recording by King and Bowman on Hyperion was superb, Robin Blaze sings the opening aria with poise, panache and delightful delicacy. Together with the other solists Michael George and Susan Gritton, Blaze makes this music jump out at you with its freshness and melifluous shape.
Once bitten by the majesty of this music how can anyone resist Handel's power to move the senses ?