Christina Landshamer, Anja Scherg, Reginald Mobley, Benedikt Kristjánsson, Andreas Wolf, Gaechinger Cantorey, Hans-Christoph Rademann
In addition to the Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate on this packed CD we get a suite from ‘Il Pastor fido’ and the Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne. All three works belong to the period when the composer was in the employ of the Elector of Hanover but was taking extended leave in London. The story of Handel’s alienation from the Electors of Hanover and his subsequent embarrassment when George I was translated to the British throne is a complete fiction, and it seems they were more than happy to see their favourite composer established in London. That Handel successfully applied himself to major courtly compositions in the latter days of the reign of Queen Anne helped him quickly to become the archetypal British national composer. While the Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate are pieces full of pomp designed to celebrate military victory, the Birthday Ode is more subtle indicating even a degree of affection between the Queen and her rising star composer. Opening with the sublime “Eternal Source of Light” given a fine performance here, this piece seems to show an awareness on the part of the 28-year-old composer that he is stepping into some dauntingly large shoes. In these performances, the orchestra of the Gaechinger Cantorey play with an impressive consistency and idiomatic style while the chorus too produce a pleasingly focussed and expressive sound. The soloists generally impress with their musicality and purity of tone, while the live recording made in the Liederhalle Stuttgart has a fine acoustic bloom with absolutely no audience noise.
D. James Ross