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CD Review

George Frideric Handel

The Choice of Hercules

Susan Gritton (Pleasure), soprano
Alice Coote (Virtue), mezzo-soprano
Robin Blaze (Hercules), countertenor
Charles Daniels (An Attendant on Pleasure), tenor
* Peter Harvey, bass
Choir and Orchestra of the King's Consort/Robert King
Hyperion CDA67298 66m DDD
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Robert King continues to provide a sterling service to Handel devotees by another splendid recording of this rather obscure cantata. As one can read in Anthony Hicks' absorbing essay, 'Hercules' contains much music that was extensively re-used by Handel but the whole is definitely worth listening to.

It goes without saying that King's superb team of soloists led by Susan Gritton and Robin Blaze inform the work with verve and an intrinsic understanding of the music that contains some very beautiful arias although the recitatives are occasionally too languorous for my tastes.

Robert King also provides a highly intriguing work by Greene to couple 'Hercules'. This splendid ode contains some fine music but one must admit that it does not much either, Purcell or Boyce for unabashed brilliance, let alone Handel at his best. However it is a curiously intriguing coupling and receives a swaggering interpretation by this superb group of artists.

The recording is a model of clarity and this issue should immediately be investigated by any self-respecting Handel collector. It's no 'Messiah' but a fine effort nonetheless.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech