Near the dawn of the 20th century, underlings of Czar Nicholas II created a book called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which purported to be the outline of a master plan created by powerful Jews determined to rule the world.
John Eliot Gardiner and his period instrument ensemble produce a lovely, smooth sound in these very well played performances, which use Handel's versions for strings and winds. Balances are fine; playing and recording collaborate to produce a treasurable clarity in which every line registers. –Leslie Gerber … Handel's epic oratorio, Israel in Egypt, here in a gripping performance by John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, was a failure during Handel's lifetime. This was perhaps because of its immense variety of compositional techniques and forms. It is a virtual catalog of choral compositional methods, and thus stands outside the genre of 18th-century oratorio as such. Now, of course, it is recognized as what it is, a unique, dazzling work. –Joshua Cody … Although he billed this piece as an oratorio, it's really an opera–the first ever in English, and one of the finest too. Handel's audience wasn't fooled for a minute, and a successful performance needs a dazzling cast of singers, just as in the composer's Italian operas. Good as John Eliot Gardiner's singers are, they don't surpass John Nelson's cast on DG, nor does Gardiner's direction offer much competition. Had the DG not existed this would be perfectly recommendable, but life is cruel, and you deserve the best.(David Hurwitz)