Handel's operas–the center of his creative life before oratorios became the focus–have spent far too long in limbo awaiting rediscovery, which slowly started happening in the late '60s with works such as Giulio Cesare. But whether Handelian opera is still a novelty or you're already a rabid convert, this emotionally resonant, crisply played, superbly cast interpretation under William Christie and Les Arts Florissants is likely to shake up some of your ideas about the composer.
These works, and this recording, work for me. Listening to Korngold's Op.1, you'd never suspect he was 12 years old when he composed it. It's the work of a mature composer, albeit one who would go on to find more of his own voice. But that's the case with all great artists of course. And Zemlinksy's works are always ingenious and rewarding. The professional relationship between these two composers makes the relationship between these two trios all the more interesting. As usual, the Beaux Arts Trio plays impeccably and Philips has created a magnificent recording.