Andrew McGregor
BBC Radio 3 CD Review
July 2012

Handel’s at the heart of another newcomer that just arrived from Signum Classics. As you might just guess from its title Let The Bright Seraphim, and the billed soloists soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins, it’s a celebration of highlights by Bach, Telemann, Scarlatti and Handel for the valveless baroque trumpet on which Steele-Perkins is an acknowledged master, and the way it can work to such fine effect with a shiny soprano solo. So, Steele-Perkins imagines the atmosphere of the eighteenth century Vauxhall pleasure gardens in London, and puts together a sequence of pieces from Handel opera and oratorio that might have appeared as part of the outdoor entertainment.

Eternal source of light divine, from Handel’s birthday ode for Queen Anne, performed by soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins with the Armonico Consort, directed by Christopher Monks. As part of a Handel sequence, Steele-Perkins has put together taking us from the March, from Judas Maccabaeus through three numbers from the Water Music to Let The Bright Seraphim from Handel’s Samson, and that gleams beautifully at the end of the album. In fact, the whole thing seems suffused with light reflected from Manahan Thomas’ voice, and Steele-Perkins’ effortlessly projected trumpet. And the trumpet is nicely balanced against the rest of the band and the acoustic from Bach’s cantata Jauchzet Gott to that Handel sequence. Let The Bright Seraphim, they’ve called it. It’s new from Signum Classics.