Handel: Chandos Anthems Nos 7, 9 & 11a (CD Review - allmusic.com, 2009)

There has never been a wealth of satisfying recordings of Handel’s "Chandos Anthems" available, so admirers of the works should be grateful for Hyperion’s release three of the eleven anthems, especially because they are exceptionally well performed and recorded. Skilled and seasoned conductor Stephen Layton leads the Trinity College Choir, Cambridge, the Academy of Ancient Music, and a quartet of excellent soloists in strong, spirited, and above all, noble accounts of "No. 9 O praise the Lord with one consent," "No. 11 Let God arise," and "No. 7 My song shall be alway." The Cambridge Choir turns in superlative accounts of the work’s many choruses, from the unfettered delight of "Ye boundless realms of joy" to the awestruck wonder of "Praised be the Lord!" The Academy orchestra performs brilliantly alone, as in the ebullient Sonata at the start of "My song shall be alway," and with sensitivity in its accompanimental role. The soloists are excellent: mellifluous tenor James Gilchrist in "Like as the smoke vanisheth," soulful alto Iestyn Davies in "Praise him, all ye that in his house," powerful bass Neal Davies in "That God is great," and clarion soprano Emma Kirkby in "God’s tender mercy" and particularly, "Let the righteous be glad." Recorded in richly detailed and evocative digital sound, this disc should appeal to anyone who enjoys Baroque choral music.

James Leonard

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