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The Ensemble Orchestral de Paris is a modern-instrument group seemingly doing an imitation of period instruments, and they very nearly succeed. (It's the smooth, brassy trumpets that give them away.) The players have obviously learned something from their period-instrument colleagues: the sound is nice and lean, balance problems are minor, and the flute soloist in "Sweet Bird" does a fair imitation of an old flauto traverso. John Nelson's tempos are often very quick, yet nothing seems rushed; indeed, thanks to Nelson's good judgment and the skill of his soloists, the fast tempos make the music seem like heightened speech. If your shelves and/or wallet can handle only one L'Allegro, the King's Consort would be a better choice at the moment, but real Handel lovers--and fans of Daniels, Dawson, and Bostridge--won't want to miss this. --Matthew Westphal
This has to be the best piece on the entire two-disc set.
Alto David Daniels sings well though I can 'hear' another counter-tenor -- Gerard Lesne or Michael Chance, perhaps -- singing with more thrilling affect.
The "Pensoroso" airs probe more deeply into the gloomier temprements, but the Allegro movements have an unrestrained exuberance that is infectious!
I have both this recording and the King recording, but this is the one I prefer. The tempos are decidedly faster and I prefer Nelson's soloists for the most part. Read morePublished on January 14, 2011 by Kariba
Of the 3 recordings I have, this is the one I listen to most. There is nothing wrong with the tempi, they flow naturally with no over-wrought lagging for emotional effect. Read morePublished on August 1, 2007 by John Gray Hunter Jr.
I like this recording to say the very least. It has a very pleasant feel to it. I listen to this whenever I get an opportunity. Read morePublished on August 29, 2001 by gobirds2
This recording has certainly generated a lot of talk, which I certainly welcome, as one who has been thrilled by the resurgence of Handel's popularity. Read morePublished on December 30, 2000 by Dr. Peter Glidden
Sometimes it is better not to know so much if Ms. Zbikowska's review is representative (what's this too about the "failed" Alcina recording?.... Read morePublished on November 28, 2000
Not very long time ago, in my review (sorry for this self reference) of the failed recording of "Alcina" under Christie, I dreamt about a new Handel performance practice... Read morePublished on November 17, 2000 by Izolda