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No, not that Bethlehem – this is a recording by the 120-year-old Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, an amateur chorus but well versed in music of this period. They have a crisp, fresh sound with good diction and excellent tuning, particularly the youthful-sounding sopranos. Handel’s ode, written for the Musical Society of London’s celebration of St Cecilia’s Day 1739, is a real showcase for a soprano soloist and Cassandra Lemoine’s arias display a perfect blend of purity and warmth; tenor Benjamin Butterfield is also excellent and Greg Funfgeld directs a spirited, stylish performance.

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Choir & Organ, 2019 - ©Rhinegold Publishing