Esther - Dunedin Consort - Spirited Magazine
The impressive line-up for this disc includes James Gilchrist and Robin Blaze, and these singers do not disappoint. Matthew Brook is also very good; these chaps all producing good, robust, characterful singing with clear enunciation and diction and a good communication of expression. I was less taken with Susan Hamilton as the eponymous heroine - she pushes the ends of the notes (perhaps to compensate for her rather light and very young voice) - which gives the music a slight musical-as-opposed-to-classical feel. The Dunedin Consort play well under the direction of John Butt, with well-shaped phrases and good use ofdifferent continuo instruments. The very attractively presented notes do not contain a synopsis of the oratorio (though they do have words); rather, they focus upon the historical aspects of the work and discuss the edition, sources, and carefully consider the problems of ascertaining the date of composition and the provenance of various performing versions. An excellent release all-round.