Philippe Jaroussky sees the current pandemic as a summons to reflect on the place of human beings in the universe, so he uses this wonderfully varied recital of baroque oratorio arias to offer a moving and skilful meditation on the human condition. Much of the music here is little known, but Jaroussky has plundered the riches of the Italian-style oratorio to great effect; his choices a reminder that this style was exported all over Europe.

Philippe Jaroussky

Jaroussky delights in evoking the gamut of human emotions, from the rage of “Tuona il ciel” from Marcello’s retelling of the Judith story, to the disdain of “Contro l’empio” of Caldara’s Assalonne , and on to the dark shades of “Bacio l’ombre” from Antonio Maria Bononcini’s oratorio on the beheading of John the Baptist.

Handel provides the only well-known item,...