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Could there be any music more indelibly marked as British as Handel’s Coronation Anthems? And yet here we have a live recording of the four anthems by a German radio choir and an international orchestra, taken from one of Germany’s oldest and leading Handel festivals. (See page 42 for a review of some of this year’s events.) That said, at the helm is our very own Laurence Cummings, festival director and one of the most exciting Handelian experts around – and lest anyone be put offby the thought of non-native speakers performing this music, let me say that the singing is superb and with only the most fleeting hints of an accent. Their diction is unfailingly clear, and combined with the energy and drive of the FestspielOrchester Göttingen, marshalled by Cummings, they give uplifting, thrilling performances.

The disc is rounded off by tracks from a concert in the 2012 festival, given by the same forces. The work in question is the oratorio Esther, in its second version of 1732. Yet what do we hear? Handel, the master musical recycler and reworker, crafted the chorus ‘God is our hope’ from the outer movements of ‘Zadok’ – he knew a good thing when he heard it, and perhaps already recognised how much of a hit the earlier work had been.

Adrian Horsewood Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2001 - ©Rhinegold Publishing