ANOTHER Messiah? Not just another. On the contrary, this is the only recording of Handel's unique London performances of May/June 1751, in which he used the Chapel Royal choir's men and boys, including trebles in the soprano arias.

A perfect opportunity, then, for a top-notch collegiate choir, wholeheartedly grasped by Higginbottom, whose athletic singers are well able to handle his often brisk tempos.

The Academy of Ancient Music plays out of its skin, too, adding to the general joie de vivre.

Iestyn Davies is the smooth countertenor, especially moving in He Was Despised. Toby Spence brings considerable drama to the tenor arias and pathos to the Passion.

Eamonn Dougan's well-rounded baritone and three confident trebles complete a strong band of soloists. Warmly recommended.