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This review is from: Handel: Athalia (Audio CD)
The Acadamy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood have created an outstanding recording here with this release of Athalia. They are joined by Dame Joan Sutherland. I have never enjoyed a performance by her as much as I do here. Even though she was out of her usual environment of repetoir. Here she works with a period authentic instrument type of recording. She gives a shining performance for this faboulous piece of composition. She usually has a high use of vibrato which I am not so keen on normally. However here it is not over laboured and in fact helps to elivate her role above the other Israelites. Something which is needed.
Also the Acadamy of Ancient Music are joined by the choir of New Collage Oxford. They also give an full bodied and excellent performance that really adds weight to the dynamic range.
Emma Kirkby is in her usual environment in this sort of music. She is consistantly good in her performance and this recording is no exception. In fact she makes an outstanding contribution.
Rolfe Johnson, David Thomas and James Bowman are equally at home in this composition style and once again they are all on top form.
Everyone seems to realy pull the stops out for this epic recording and the choices of performers has been spot on for every character. This is also true of the inclusion of Aled Jones who gives a beautiful vocal interpretation to his character as the boy Joas.
The sound engineering is superb and the whole release is outstanding. Everything about it is perfection. I love this whole package.
The composition is with out doubt one of the greatest oratorios by Handel. It is full of drama and musical texture. It is one of the best major classical works to come out of England over the centuries.
I was lucky to get this release at an incredible bargain price and in excellent condition. I can say that no matter what the cost you should not hesitate if you are tempted. If you have liked other oratorios by Handel then you will like this one, and this is a very strongly reccomended version.