Handel Peace & Celebration – European Union Baroque Orchestra

Handel Peace & Celebration European Union Baroque Orchestra, Choir of Clare College Cambridge, Alex Potter, Lar Ulrick Mortensen.
Obsidian CD711 69’ 34”
    £13 from http://www.eubo.eu/shop/CD711.

Zadok the Priest, Let thy hand be strengthened, Concerto Grosso Op3/2, My heart is inditing, Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, The King shall rejoice.

This is live recording (with a little judicious patching) of a St John’s, Smith Square concert (under the title ‘Handel: A Royal Celebration’) that I reviewed in last December’s issue of Early Music Review.  It is a timely issue in the anniversary year of the accession of the first Hanoverian King, George I.  The talented young musicians of EUBO (a training orchestra re-formed each year) come to the fore in the Concerto Grosso Op 3/2, with its distinctive Largo featuring two cellos and oboe (played exquisitely by Guillermo Turina Serrano, Nicola Paoli and Clara Geuchen).  The rest of the piece involves outstanding playing by the two violinists Zefira Valova (the concertmaster for this tour, and formally a EUBO member) and Roldán Bernabé-Carrión.

For the rest of the disc they are in an accompaniment role.  The outstanding feature of the vocal works is the opening movement of the Birthday Ode, ‘Eternal source of light divine’, beautifully sung by Alex Potter, with the terrifying trumpet solo played with absolute conviction and surety by EUBO trumpeter Sebastian Philpott. You should buy this CD for this track alone – it is spine-tingling!  I noted in my concert review that the other soloists were drawn from the Clare College choir, “with varying degrees of success”.  The choir as a whole however do sound good, although there is occasionally a bit of a wobble from the alto line.  In these shaky financial times, EUBO needs the support of funders more than ever.  Buying this CD is a particularly good investment in the future of young musicians.

First published in Early Music Review, April 2014.

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