Argentinean group Vox Dei started playing by the end of the 1960s. After signing up to independent label Mandioca, the band released "Azucar Amarga" and "Presente" in 1969; a year later, they issued the album Caliente. Vox Dei's conceptual album La Biblia, released in 1971, consolidated the band as one of the major local rock numbers. When Juan Carlos Godoy decided to leave the act, Ignacio Smilari joined in. Soon after Jeremias, Pies De Plomo came out, Vox Dei participated in a movie called Rock Hasta Que Se Ponga El Sol. In 1974, guitarist Carlos Michelini replaced Ricardo Soulé. The group disbanded after a live performance at Buenos Aires' Obras Sanitarias in 1981, returning in 1988 to make a new record called Tengo Razones Para Seguir.
Loving performances caught in lovely sound, so what's not to love? Not, as it turns out, much, but not, regrettably, nothing at all. Jordi Savall, the gambist cum conductor who directs Le Concert Des Nations, is a genial, even affectionate leader who in these four light works of Mozart grants his players a considerable amount of interpretive freedom. Le Concert Des Nations, Savall's all-purpose classical and pre-classical chamber orchestra, responds with funny, even frothy, playing is as technically assured as it is brilliantly colorful. Alia Vox, Savall's label for everything he records from El Sabio to Monteverdi, catches the performances in a warm, natural, and deep acoustic of amazing vividness.
This is a reissue of a recording from 1993 (re-released a few years ago and deleted in 2003), recently remastered for SACD, and it really impresses with a renewed presence and impact, even on standard CD playback. As I said in my original review, Savall's reading "comes as close as these things can to placing us in the best seat in the house and treats us to a rare experience: the sensation of believing we're hearing a ruggedly familiar piece for the first time. Literally bursting with energy, scintillating strings, blazing horns, and incisive winds, and never boring even for one second, these performances give you Handel at his most exciting." If you have the earlier release, you probably don't need this one–unless you now own an SACD system–but it does deserve a place in every Handel collection, not only for the unsurpassed performances, but also for the effect of Savall's several decidedly "non-standard" tempos(!), and of course for the phenomenal sound, which now must have reached its ultimate realism in this format.