Classical: New releases

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The Independent Culture
Handel Handel in Hamburg

The Parley of Instruments/Holman (Hyperion)

A marvellous disc charting Handel's first forays into opera in his native north Germany, before his Italian sojourn. Peter Holman has reconstructed suites from Handel's first opera, Almira, and its two supposedly lost successors, Florino and Daphne. The 20-year-old Handel's buoyant style and powers of invention are already well on display, as is the Parley of Instruments' pointed and enticing musicianship. HHHHH

Glass Kundun - Soundtrack of Martin Scorsese's Film (Nonesuch)

There's an alluring and often haunting rhythmic tapestry in this accompaniment to Scorsese's cinematic life of the Dalai Lama. Without the film, the soundtrack on its own is more background than foreground music. Tibetan horns and cymbals and the voices of Tibetan monks add local spice, but the effect is all too similar to Glass's 14-year-old Mishima soundtrack. HHH