Solo recitals of arias from Handel operas and oratorios are common, so it's a pleasure to hear an album devoted to his duets, particularly when they're performed as well as they are here by soprano Rosemary Joshua and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly. Both have had diverse careers, but are known especially for their Baroque roles. Their voices are especially well-matched in weight, and their blend is beautifully warm, but they are each distinctive enough that they retain a strong vocal identity even when singing in close harmony.
Pinnock’s performances of the Bach Harpsichord Concertos first appeared in 1981 and have dominated the catalog ever since. In the solo concertos he plays with real panache, his scholarship tempered with excellent musicianship." "The double, triple and quadruple concertos are digital, and the combination of period instruments and playing of determined vigour certainly makes a bold effect.
Simon Preston's recordings of the complete set of Handel's organ concertos with Trevor Pinnock and The English Concert was the first to use the latest musicological research by Anthony Hicks. These recordings remain unsurpassed from a scholarly point of view, and the performances themselves remained a benchmark for at least a decade. They may not be the best versions available now but still have a lot to offer. Preston's performances are alert and still sound very vibrant and strong, yet it must be confessed that the rather harsh sound of Preston's instrument in Opus 7 verges on becoming joyless at times.