Even though I'm not a fan of Händel (or, for that matter, an "Englishness" in any kind of music), I'll call this a Sternstunde - a truly special moment in the recording history of baroque vocal music, and then one that happened - almost impossible to believe - more than 30 years ago. This Decca production seems so very far ahead indeed, with a sound refreshingly clear, an Academy playing tight and slim, and a soloist ensemble which, in all its unity, is simply great - it would be a thing unfair to highlight the single name of worldwide prominence among them. Here you'll find an elegance - that smells, distinctively, of France -, a lightness, a youthfulness even, not normally associated with old Georg Friedrich. And being neither lengthy nor an opera, this work provides a listening experience completely free of tedium. A dark horse to be sure (judging, at least, from the number of reviews in this circus), Hogwood's Alceste can be recommended as a divertissement of the highest order. Compare it either to a feather or a cloud, but don't let yourself ever be deterred by that date of 1979.