This is very good recording (made in 1991) of two of the most popular works in the Baroque repertoire. Harry Christophers and his musicians make a very good job of both: I do have some reservations about the Vivaldi but overall this is a very good disc indeed.
The Vivaldi Gloria RV589 is Vivaldi at his best - vigorous and tender, playful and deeply spiritual by turns, it is a joy to listen to and this performance is largely excellent. The chorus is great, being very responsive to the text and technically excellent, and the same can be said of the very fine orchestral playing. Personally, I found soprano Lynda Russell a little over-operatic at times, like in the beautiful Domine Deus where her Romantically emotive style and pronounced vibrato felt more appropriate to Verdi than Vivaldi. I also thought that some of Christophers' tempi were a bit brisk and lightweight: for example, the climax of the brief, choral Qui tollis peccata mundi is, for me a genuinely powerful, moving prayer to be heard but here is nipped through as though he can't wait to get on to the next bit. However, these are matters of taste and overall I like this very much.
I had no such reservations about Bach's Magnificat. It is a fabulous work, full of joy, depth and wonderful musical invention and variety and these qualities are fully brought out here. The singing is terrific, the mood is perfectly judged throughout and the orchestral colours are simply wonderful, with the trumpets especially good - but then they're played by Crispian Steele-Perkins and David Blackadder, so that's not really surprising. The cast of musicians and singers here is very good and studded with what are now star names, and they make something really special of the Magnificat; I don't know of a version I prefer to this one.
With excellent recorded sound and good notes including full texts this, despite some personal niggles with the Vivaldi, is well worth five stars and warmly recommended.