Handel Chandos Te Deum; Chandos Anthem No. 8
London Handel Orchestra and Soloists/Adrian Butterfield
Onyx ONYX 4203 65:35 mins
This disc addresses a relatively unexplored area of Handel’s music. The Te Deum in B flat was perhaps intended as a companion piece to the other work included here, the anthem ‘O come let us sing unto the Lord’. Both pieces, dating from c1718, were written for Cannons, the out-of-town residence of James Brydges, Earl of Carnarvon, later Duke of Chandos. For him, Handel provided 11 Cannons anthems, as well as the English masque Acis and Galatea.
The Te Deum, the third and longest of Handel’s settings of the canticle, contains several generously proportioned and well-contrasted choruses, together with soprano, two tenor and bass soloists. The instrumental ensemble consists of strings with unison recorders, oboe, bassoon and the only appearance of a trumpet in any of Handel’s music for Cannons. The anthem, similarly though not identically scored to the Te Deum, shares its brightly coloured expressive outlook and begins with a sonata for oboe, violins in two parts and continuo, whose second movement is an unmistakably Handelian fugue. The London Handel Orchestra and Soloists, under the assured direction of Adrian Butterfield, offer lightly-articulated and texturally-lucid performances, where Grace Davidson’s limpid A major solo ‘O magnify the Lord’ deserves special mention. The one-to-a-part approach, pertaining both to vocal and instrumental strands, suits its concerted chamber music character. Full texts and a scholarly essay are included in a pleasingly-packaged release.