Handel's Brockes-Passion is something of an oddball work in several respects, beginning with the fact that it's one of the few major Handel works written in German. It's a long work, especially so with the slow tempos here from Arcangelo director Jonathan Cohen, who clocks in at two hours and 40 minutes. The libretto by Barthold Heinrich Brockes is sometimes criticized as over-the-top with its pietistic imagery ("Foam, you foam of the world!"), and it doesn't quite hold up the drama for its entire length, at least for contemporary audiences; Jesus inexplicably disappears for large stretches of the action, which proceeds in the recitatives, with the arias commenting on the proceedings. The chorus, unusually for Handel, has little to do. Here, the chorus has only eight members, and in general, the ensemble is too small for the scope of the work, but this does not matter too much, for Cohen is working with excellent soloists. They're led by soprano Sandrine Piau, who, as the Daughter of Zion, has a crushing 14 arias and brings personality to each one. Tenor Stuart Jackson, as the Evangelist, has a big, exciting voice, and baritone Konstantin Krimmel as Jesus is splendid in his duet with Mary Bevan as Mary. The oratorio also has smaller solo roles, here taken by members of the choir, and all are well handled. Another plus is the St. Jude church acoustic, which suits the intimate mood of the music. Handel was on unfamiliar Bachian territory, and there are other recordings that emphasize different aspects of the music, but this one connects with the emotional core of the music in the arias.