Very well cast and stylishly performed, using period instruments, the Naxos set makes an excellent bargain. Even if the playing is not quite as crisp or purposeful as on the rival (mid-priced) set from Hogwood, the result is compellingly dramatic. Outstanding among the singers is Barbara Schlick as Josabeth, pure sweet and expressive, and though Elisabeth Scholl in the title-role provides too little contrast with her rather boyish tone not really apt for this ‘Jewish Clytemnestra’, her attack is clean and fresh. The castrato role of Joad is taken by Annette Reinhold, who sounds uncannily like a low counter-tenor, firm and secure, with little vibrato. Good, undistracting recording.
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