I actually sung in a choir, presenting this work, and from that time stems my own familiarity and love of this amazing work. I cannot really say much that would do any justice to the music, but inasmuch as oratorio seems Handel's showcase for his fertile and powerful imagination, so Judas Maccabeus, along with Messiah, is the star of the show.
I loved it from the start. One of the main criteria in assessing how good a choir is, has to be how well and how purely each voice can carry a note, in a reasonably bel canto fashion. Vibrato in the high soprano lines, and murky unpercievable notes in any of the voices are a turn-off particularly, and thankfully this recording is void of that. I have said this of another choir (King's consort choir), but I must say too, in the capacity of a fan quite partial to the King's college choir, that the New College Choir of Oxford prove themselves undoubtedly up to what I consider the standard-setting performances of the King's college choir. Maybe it has something to do with Mr. Robert King's masterful direction. He certainly conducts with marvellously Handelian power, and ferocity. Without comparison to any other presumably fine recordings (I haven't had the opportunity to hear any other's yet) I completely and fully recommend this recording, as a Handelian triumph, and a grand example of high standard in performance.