It is a remarkable work, even for Handel. There is great drama, excellent arias, good choruses and the memorable tunefulness that characterizes Handel at his best. Destiny marks the overall theme. The vocal soloists do an exceptional job: James Gilchrist, Susan Bickley, Sophie Bevan, Robin Blaze, Matthew Brook and Grace Davidson, all.
The choral passages (with a relatively small group per the accepted practices of the era) are presented with spirit, the small, period-instruments orchestra glows with all the warmth and sweetness a good period ensemble can give. The tempos do not drag. Time passes quickly as they draw us in. We respond with pleasure. The drama comes through without pretension, straightforwardly. And the libretto is in English, which makes the work all the more accessible for my English speaking readers.
The recording gives cogent proof, if we didn't already know, that as great as the Sixteen and Christophers are for Palestrina (see previous posts), they are just as accomplished in putting together a ravishing interpretation of a Handel Oratorio.