George Frideric Handel (1685-1759): Dettingen Te Deum and Dettingen Anthem. Performed by the Choir of Westminster Abbey (soloists: Christopher Tipping, alto, Harry Christophers, tenor, Stephen Varcoe, bass, and Michael Pearce, bass), the English Concert, Trevor Pinnock (organ), directed by Simon Preston. Recorded at the Henry Wood Hall, London, England in 1982/1983. Released in 1984 as Deutsche Grammophon Archiv 410 647-2. Total playing time approx. 53 minutes.
After listening to this CD, the first thing I wanted to do was to celebrate Handel, who, although today rightly acclaimed as a composer of opera, was a masterful writer of occasional festive music for the Royal household. The music on this disc is all that the lover of "Messiah" could desire: Festive trumpets, a delightfully English-sounding choir with boy trebles and male altos, a male alto soloist who, to my ears, was just the right man for the job, and an English Concert which supports the choir with spot-on playing (apart from the three trumpets, there are timpani, four oboes, two bassoons, twelve violins, three cellos, two violones and organ). Oh, and there are those wonderful Biblical texts, taken mainly but not solely from the Psalms, which, although perhaps used rather freely to celebrate the English King, resound with a piety which, unfortunately, has been lost since that time (1743). As someone else has written a brilliant review with more background, I needn't say more - except that Deutsche Grammophon's fantastic engineering will not disappoint you. If you have enjoyed the last part of "Messiah" or the "Coronation Anthems", then you won't want to miss this!