It’s hard not to be immediately disarmed by English countertenor Barnaby Smith when he describes his debut solo album Handel as a vanity project. This delightful program of some of Handel’s best-loved arias, duets and instrumental music is also a fanboy project, the VOCES8 conductor, choral singer, teacher and LIVE from London festival director admitting “the music is taken from a selection of Handel’s greatest works and is a playlist of favourite tracks recorded by my vocal idols”.

Barnaby Smith

Such as his former teacher, Andreas Scholl. But while there are comparisons to be made with Scholl’s own solo Handel recordings, as well as with those of others such as Philippe Jaroussky the brilliant Franco Fagioli, that would be missing the point. This is a true homage, a tribute, both to Handel’s music and to those singers who have brought it so marvellously to life for Smith and the rest of us in our own time. It’s also something he wanted to be able to share, in later years, with his son, Orlando.

Not that...