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CD Review

Vivaldi / Handel

Sacred Choral Works

The Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner
Philips 462597-2 78m DDD
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This is the second recording of the recently discovered Handel 'Gloria', this time featuring the sublime English Baroque Soloists under John Eliot Gardiner. BIS's disc has the trump card in the shape of Emma Kirkby but Gillian Keith is also quite outstanding. I still have reservations about the quality of the Gloria but Gardiner provides a thoughtful measured interpretation that gains from the crystal clear Decca sound.

Vivaldi's 'Gloria' is also suitably trenchant and full of beautiful moments especially the vivacious opening. The Dixit Dominus is another outstanding interpretation with Gardiner marrying the innate grandeur of the piece with its intrinsic spirituality. The superb presentation is an added feature and incentive to buy this collection.

The conductor's extensive notes on the resurrection of the Handel Gloria are also a model of authenticity and scholarly research. I have to say that it is indeed preferable to the BIS alternative for its couplings, which confirm Eliot Gardiner's standing in the baroque scene.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech