Andreas Scholl/ Accademia Bizantina, Barbican Hall, London

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Scholl's gift is white cotton sensuality. Where David Daniels offers cut-away cups, stockings, high heels and suspenders, Scholl's Handel is pure Calvin Klein. He doesn't pounce and tear at a note, sweep it into his arms and tilt it back like a tango dancer; he merely inclines to it and expects his listeners to follow. In the languid undulations of "Cara sposa" and "Dove sei, amato bene", his tonal chastity was beguiling. (Rather than warm a sustained note with vibrato, Scholl opens it backwards into the mouth, before smoothly returning it to its original position.) Yet I quickly found myself longing for some heart-on-sleeve vulgarity: a smidgen of grit and gumption to leaven the surfeit of impeccable taste. His coloratura in Caesar's aria "Al lampo dell'armi" was brilliantly articulated, but if I were Ptolemy I would not be trembling in my boots. And shouldn't martial ire sound different to mournful love? Where Senesino sang with an orchestra of 24 violins, Scholl sang to just six. Nonetheless he was comprehensively upstaged by the magnificent players of Accademia Bizantina. Directed from the harpsichord by Ottavio Dantone, and led by the marvellous Riccardo Minasi - who featured in Il Giardino Armonico's performance of Vivaldi's Concerto for Four Violins with Viktoria Mullova last month - Accademia Bizantina follow the model of most Italian period instruments ensembles in having superb violinists, cellists, and harpsichordists, and a lutenist seemingly addicted to regular broken chords and facile counter-melodies. Regardless of Tiziano Bagnati's quasi-Alberti archlute accompaniment, their performances of Geminiani's arrangement of La follia and Vivaldi's Concerto in C were outstanding.

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