I am at a loss as to how the producers of this set thought this recording of a live performance of Handel's 'Solomon' could compete with its two outstanding previous recordings, both still available. Although it is cut (three arias are omitted as I recall), Gardiner's 1990 set raised the bar pretty high. Then Paul McCreesh (with Andreas Scholl singing Solomon) came along and bettered it. This woeful set, though, hardly makes it into the arena before it goes thud.
In all departments the two earlier recordings outpace this set from Germany. The orchestras are far superior, the singers likewise, and both conductors have Handel's rhythms in their bones where conductor Joachim Carlos Martini too often trudges. From Track 1, with an Ouverture that threatens to fall of its own weight, and onward, we are too often left without the wonder and delight of this score.
My strongest complaint has to do with the weak, poorly controlled soprano of Elisabeth Scholl who tries and fails to sing one of Handel's greatest arias, the Queen's 'Bless'd be the day.' Utter disappointment there. As she also sings the Second Woman in the scene where King Solomon settles the dispute between the two women claiming to be a baby's mother, that scene is etiolated by her singing and Martini's slow tempo.
In all fairness, the Solomon of Polish contralto Ewa Wolak has some wonderful moments, as does the Zadok the Priest of Knut Schech. Scottish soprano Nicola Wemyss sings the Queen of Sheba and of all the singers has the most understandable diction, but her coloratura slogs where it should sparkle and she has no trill.
The main reason for anyone to buy this set would financial; it costs about half what the others do. But that's a weak recommendation, particularly when you factor in the somewhat mushy cathedral sound. Save your pennies and get one of the others.