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Handel - Chandos Anthems, Vol.2 - Sinfini Music

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Handel flourished during his early years in England under the care of several super-rich patrons. James Brydges, Earl of Carnarvon and later Duke of Chandos, persuaded the German composer to join his elite company of resident musicians in the summer of 1717. Over the next few months Handel created a series of inspired sacred works, which were first performed in the parish church near Brydges’ lavish mansion in Edgware. The so-called Chandos Anthems, for all their former popularity with amateur choral societies, rest today in relative obscurity. Stephen Layton’s unfolding survey of the works with the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge holds the qualities required to introduce these buried treasures to anyone with an ear for Handel’s apparently limitless expressive invention.

Their latest album offers sublime readings of As pants the hart and I will magnify thee, O God, each graced with intensity and conviction by all concerned with their performance. Listen to the latter’s opening Sonata and its establishing chorus for a sense of the energy that underpins this recording. Thomas Hobbs is a joy to behold in Handel’s diverse tenor solos, lyrical of voice and always able to project words with the ideal degree of weight. The vastly experienced Susan Gritton and Iestyn Davies add warmth and depth to the glorious range of tone colours applied to O come, let us sing unto the Lord. Layton’s outstanding young choristers pass every test of individual and collective technique with flying colours while projecting words and music with infectious enthusiasm.

Andrew Stewart

Handel - Chandos Anthems, Vol.2
Hyperion Records CDA67926