George Frideric Handel, HANDEL: Coronation Anthems / Silete Venti

James Jolly

By James Jolly

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Joyous, celebratory anthems, crafted on a truly grand scale.

George Frederick Handel, German-born, but naturalised a British citizen in 1727, ascended quickly to the highest echelons of musical society in his adopted city of London. In fact, such was the esteem in which he was held that he was commissioned to compose four anthems for the Coronation of George II and Queen Caroline later that year. The first anthem, "Zadok the Priest," magnificently conjures up the sense of occasion and the joy of a Great Event: Handel's sense of judgement for what would fill the vast space of Westminster Abbey was perfect (and not surprisingly, the piece has been heard at every coronation since). These are joyous, celebratory works on a truly grand scale — and this splendid recording does them total justice.