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A new recording of Handel’s final oratorio has been needed for some time. It’s therefore a pleasure to report that this new one from Harry Christophers and his forces, following on from well-received performances early in 2014, does not disappoint. The choral singing is exemplary, technically perfect (particularly in Handel’s coloratura runs) and with a real sense of engagement in the unfolding drama. The solo contributions are equally accomplished, none more so than James Gilchrist’s rounded portrayal of Jephtha, the Israelite leader whose journey of disintegration is so powerfully moving. His ‘Wafther, angels’, one of Handel’s most celebrated tenor arias, as Jephtha bids farewell to Iphis, the daughter he must sacrifice, is heartbreaking – Gilchrist has done nothing better on disc. Excellent liner notes and a full libretto enhance the delights of this most welcome recording.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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