CD Review: “Parnasso in Festa” with The King’s Consort (Restrospect Ensemble)



If you’re looking to discover a corner of George Frideric Handel’s music that hasn’t been performed or recorded to death, the serenata Parnasso in Festa makes for a great start. The 2008 Hyperion recording with the King’s Consort (Matthew Halls, dir.) is the ideal choice with a fine roster of soloists, chorus, and orchestra—an inspired and spirited performance.

An aside: The Retrospect Ensemble appears in the title of this post because the recording is no longer in the King’s Consort discography (at least on their website), whereas it is found in the Retrospect’s.

Matthew Halls was the director of the King’s Consort for a period of time, during which it was renamed the Retrospect Ensemble, until Robert King (the original director) returned. The King’s Consort resumed their work while Halls left with the Retrospect name, regrouped, and formed an outstanding group of his own.

At least, that’s what I’ve been able to piece together.

Buy: Handel: Parnasso in Festa, King’s Consort (Retrospect Ensemble)

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(Retrospect Ensemble in concert; photo: Stephen Page)

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