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Handel: Messiah Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

133 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, July 16, 1991
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$13.49 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Handel: Messiah + The Messiah: An Oratorio for Four-Part Chorus of Mixed Voices, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass Soli and Piano
Price for both: $20.61

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Editorial Reviews


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Product Details

  • Performer: Eileen Farrell, Martha Lipton, Davis Cunningham, William Warfield, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • Orchestra: The Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Conductor: Eugene Ormandy
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (July 16, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B0000024OE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,050 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 100 people found the following review helpful By R. H. Peterson on November 1, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I grew up hearing this rendition of Handel's Messiah, so I admit I may be biased; however, since my youth I have heard many other recordings and this 1959 Ormandy recording remains my favorite by far!
Some say that the Ormandy rendition is technically inferior to comparatively modern recordings which place more emphasis on period instruments, historical reproduction, etc. I would counter that the Ormandy recording is about the Messiah instead of being just another performance of Handel's Messiah. The tempos--slower than those of more recent recording--give additional meaning to this sacred work and lead the listener to reflect on the religious significance of the work instead of solely considering the technical aspects of its performance. It is from this perspective that the Ormandy recording is perhaps the most artful of all Messiah recordings, as well as the standard against which many others are compared.
The universal complaint regarding the Ormandy recording is that it is not a complete recording. Several segments (principally airs and recitatives) were omitted because of space limitations. In 1995, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, under the direction of Sir David Willcocks, released a second, complete recording of the Messiah. This recording is no doubt more technically accurate than the Ormandy recording, yet still is not as widely regarded or as well known.
I own both Mormon Tabernacle Choir Messiah recordings, but if I had to choose one, it would definitely be the Ormandy version. I couldn't recommend it more highly!
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Harry Littell on December 22, 1999
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I began searching for the best Messiah many years ago. I received my first copy of this version as a gift and over the years I have come to realize the manner of presentation, along with the meticulous attention to detail, can only lead one to believe that Handel himself would feel this to be the best. No flamboyancy. No dramatic interpretation. Simply the best recording of the Messiah.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By brenda on December 13, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Let's face it, many people have written about the technicality of this cd. Like many I heard this rendition when it first came out..I loved it. Then I got busy with life and the record got lost or broken and I didn't think much about it. Recently I have hungered for this recording and was pleased to find it available. However, reading some of the reviews I became curious as to whether there was one out there I might like better. After all it had been over thirty years since I heard it. I'v heard others that I liked well enough but they never measured up. Maybe my memory was enhancing the experience of the sound of this particular one. No--the minute heard it I new what the difference is. This recording makes you FEEL what this music is about. Take all the other arguments and put them aside and just listen to this and you will know. You will feel what Handel is saying in this piece. You will feel tears and joy. I felt them when I was young and it is the same experience now as I am older. The others are lovely but this has feeling. It makes a difference.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 1998
Format: Audio CD
OK. So it's an analog recording. It's worth getting, though. Most MESSIAHS are dull, dreary things that plod along between the hit tunes. Ormandy is an absolute master of tempo, building the music (and especially the hits) to convey how the stretti should be played. The tempo isn't really stringendo, but follows the meaning behind the words with a cunning brilliance that makes one want to stand during all of the choruses. In short, if you want a DDD CD, buy something inferior. If you want the definitive take on MESSIAH, give this a chance. I should say, by the way, that I don't normally much care for Ormandy's work. In this recording, though, he has redeemed himself
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74 of 94 people found the following review helpful By albertatamazon on April 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I also grew up with this recording (on LP) and I also loved it, until I realized what was missing. I had taken it for granted because of the misleading liner notes that it was customary to omit certain numbers. I soon found out otherwise, though, and I discovered that the numbers omitted here are every bit as inspired as the rest of the oratorio.

The other great fault that I find with this recording is that it uses the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as bland a chorus as ever became famous. (The soloists are excellent, but that can also be said of the ones in several other "Messiah" albums.)

I had no idea of what I was really missing until I discovered the Robert Shaw Chorale's 1966 recording, which I heard for the first time in 1974. It has everything that the Ormandy recording does not; instead of heavy, ponderous conducting and a chorus of two hundred singers, it utilizes lively conducting and a chamber chorus, as well as brilliant soloists. With this recording, and with his 1984 remake on Telarc with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus, Shaw established himself as the twentieth century's definitive conductor of "Messiah". Both Shaw versions are now on CD.

Ormandy's recording has much nostalgic meaning for many people, but it cuts as much as forty-five minutes from the two-and-a-half hour score, and can't even begin to compare with Shaw's two magnificent complete recordings. "Messiah" lovers deserve better than a mutilated version of the work.
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