Where'er you walk – Arias for Handel's favourite tenor by Arne, Boyce, Handel & JC Smith

Reviewed on Mon 08 Aug, 2016

Particularly moving are the arias are from Berenice and Jephtha, while the duet with soprano Mary Bevan 'As steals the morn' (from L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato) is a delight, the delicate tracery of voices echoed by the oboe and bassoon.

Handel and contemporaries wrote many of these arias, sung so well here by tenor Allan Clayton, for John Beard, about whom there is an interesting article in the booklet. Clayton has excellent diction and a voice of bell-like purity. He has great skill and agility even when singing softly as in the excerpt from Samson. Particularly moving are the arias are from Berenice and Jephtha, while the duet with soprano Mary Bevan 'As steals the morn' (from L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato) is a delight, the delicate tracery of voices echoed by the oboe and bassoon. Clayton has wonderful breath control. In J.C. Smith’s 'Hark how the hounds and horn' (from The Fairies) there is a long sustained note where he swells to a crescendo, then completes the phrase when one would think he might have no breath left. The bassoon, oboe and continuo are performed most sensitively. The CD ends with 'Where'er you walk' (from Semele), sung tenderly and with the masterly technique Clayton displays throughout.
–Ruth Piatkus