Arcangelo - Handel Brockes-Passion - The Sunday Times
The Passion story according to Handel’s fellow student Barthold Heinrich Brockes is the basis of several settings by baroque composers. It influenced JS Bach’s St John Passion (Bach performed his own arrangement of Handel’s passion-oratorio in 1746 and 1748). Yet it was until recently Handel’s most neglected large-scale work. In 2019 a live recording was released from the Göttingen Handel Festival. Three more include this one and a lavishly produced Academy of Ancient Music version (AAM007). Cohen’s new studio version can’t match the AAM documentation, but I prefer his principal soloists: Sandrine Piau, radiant as the Daughter of Zion; Stuart Jackson, outstanding as the Evangelist; and Konstantin Krimmel as a dramatic Jesus.The “chorus” is an eight-strong consort. The drama moves with momentum and the textures are more lucid and rhythmically crisper.