As with many other Les Arts Florissants recordings, this one followed a live production, and it shows: the vocal and orchestral characterization of the music is all the more expressive and meaningful. King Arthur, like most other Purcell's "operas," is a combination of spoken drama and "incidental music" to accompany it. Les Arts Florissants presented the entire four-hour spectacle on stage, but committed to disc only the musical part. Yet, even without the spoken word, every scene feels complete. Especially memorable are the scene of sacrifice in the first act, the famous scene of the Cold Genius (wonderfully sung by Petteri Salomaa); and the succession of vocal numbers in the fifth act, including "The Fairest Isle" (in which Veronique Gens simply shines) and the incredible ATB trio "For Folded Flocks" (Padmore, Paton, Best). Incidentally, here as elsewhere, Christie adopts a lower pitch of a' 392 Hz in order to enable high tenors (hautes-contre) to sing alto parts. This has become Christie's signature practice, and it is perfectly borne out by the latest scientific research into authentic baroque performance methods. This recording won a major Gramophone award in 1995, a very deserved recognition of excellence!