Handel's "Acis & Galatea," his first major English-language dramatic work, is superb music from start to finish, and is superbly served by this splendid new recording from the enterprising Scottish ensemble the Dunedin Consort & Players under director John Butt. While there have been other fine versions of Handel's original (and preferable) chamber version - only 5 singers (soprano, 3 tenors, bass) and a small group of instruments - Butt has thought anew about the evidence of the manuscript sources and the expressive possibilities of such intimate forces. And while there are no major textual changes - the most important is the restoration of the character of "Coridon" (Tenor 3) who is assigned "Would you gain the tender creature" - every number shows signs of fresh thought, both musical and dramatic, and the results are lovely. This extends to the casting: soprano Susan Hamilton's light, pure voice gives Galatea a poised and innocent, almost adolescent quality, and contrasts sharply (though blending well) with Nicholas Mulroy's virile, more overtly passionate Acis; thus the ultimate incapatibility of immortal sea-nymph and mortal shepherd (think Rusalka or Andersen's Little Mermaid) is highlighted. Matthew Brooks's giant Polyphemus is rightly semi-comic, beautifully sung and fully of witty inflections. Both supporting tenors are excellent. But it's the overall sense of real teamwork (the choruses are gloriously done) and Butt's well-judged leadership, not least in how one numbers leads into the next, plus the fine instrumental work, that make this so satisfying. I think this will be a version of "Acis" to live with.