Skip to main content

 Recording of the Week  Padmore and Bostridge sing Handel

Two of the world’s leading tenors have recently both turned their attention to discs of Handel Arias. They come at a time when Handel seems to be undergoing something of a revival - already this year we have had three new recordings of some of his more obscure operas and oratorios (Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, Floridante and Fernando, rè di Castiglia) as well as Italian Cantatas from Andreas Scholl and German Arias from Carolyn Sampson.

Mark Padmore is of course no stranger to enthusiasts of Baroque Opera and Cantatas. His contributions are plentiful and distinguished, and his disc has already sold very well with a Gramophone Editor's Choice, a top rating in BBC Music and Disc of the Week in the Telegraph just a few of the accolades it received.

Ian Bostridge, currently enjoying rave reviews for his role of Aschenbach in ENO’s Death in Venice, releases his Handel disc next month. Although probably known more as an opera singer or lieder specialist he still has a large number of baroque recordings under his belt on the Virgin label.

So, how do you compare two such great singers and which one should you buy?

Well ... very difficult. I love Padmore’s rich tone that can carry you through phrases of astonishing length, while Bostridge has such a natural sounding voice that it is difficult not to be instantly enthralled. Bostridge probably gets more emotion out of every word, but is this at the loss to the longer musical line? Both singers are accompanied superbly but I prefer the sound that Harmonia Mundi’s engineers achieve on the Padmore recording. The repertoire is slightly more populist on the Bostridge disc including arias from the Messiah, but there are probably one or two more real gems on the Padmore disc. However with only 3 arias common to both discs you may well end up deciding you need both!

Below you can listen yourself to their performances of 'Where’er you walk' from Semele. They are quite big files so you’ll need broadband and even then they may take 20-30 seconds to start. Happy listening!

Handel - As Steals the Morn

Mark Padmore (tenor), The English Concert, Andrew Manze


Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Great Handel

Ian Bostridge (tenor), Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Harry Bicket


Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC