The Chandos Anthems are not among the more well-known works even among many who listen to Handel on a somewhat casual basis, but they are important and often masterful works that deserve far more attention. This recording covers a selected few of some of the later Chandos works (there are 11 in all), and have been more recently recorded than most of the other limited recordings available today (and no criticism in that, but rather just an acknowledgment that there are not many recent recordings of these works).
But its not just recency that applies to this recording, but rather, the set of superlative performers who have come together to bring Handel's Chandos Anthems works alive here. The famous vocalists (Kirby, Davies, Gilchrist, Davies, and Layton), along with the Trinity Choir from Cambridge and the Academy of Ancient Music re simply a stellar grouping, and it shows when you sit down and go through this recording. The vocal solos, supported by the choir and the orchestra, are nothing short of first-rate, and I have no hesitation in saying that these performances (and the superb quality recording and mastering by Hyperion) will now become de-facto standards to measure the Chandos works. This is no mean feat, because the older set of the complete Chandos Anthems by Harry Christophers and the Sixteen Orchestra are already critically acclaimed, and belong in any Handel collection. But the strength of the performances here, coupled with the outstanding recording, make them a startling revelation. The lead vocals are shimmeringly clear, with a punctuated beauty that is never harsh, and to listen to them is to see anew what Handel sought to accomplish with these works.
I can't recommend this recording enough for Handel fans. It's pricey, but it's totally worth it. Once you've listened to this first disc, you'll want to move on to the second. It's a truly unique experience that is not to be missed.
Handel: Chandos Anthems - the complete set of all 11 Chandos Anthems by Christopers and the Sixteen Orchestra
Handel: Chandos Anthems - more of the current set from The Trinity Choir and the Academy of Ancient Music