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Handel: Messiah - The Complete Work

Joanne Lunn , Melanie Marshall , Christopher Purves , James Gilchrist , George Frideric Handel , John Rutter , Royal Philharmonic Orchestra , Cambridge Singers Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Performer: Cambridge Singers
  • Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: John Rutter
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (November 11, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Hendrickson Worship / Martingale Music
  • ASIN: 159856126X
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,422 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Sinfonia
2. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Comfort Ye, My People
3. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Every Valley Shall Be Exalted
4. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. And the Glory of the Lord
5. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Thus Saith the Lord
6. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming?
7. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. And He Shall Purify
8. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Behold, a Virgin Shall Conceive
9. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion
10. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth
See all 21 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs
2. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. And with His Stripes We Are Healed
3. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray
4. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. All They That See Him Laugh Him to Scorn
5. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. He Trusted in God
6. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart
7. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Behold, and See If There Be Any Sorrow
8. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. He Was Cut Off Out of the Land of the Living
9. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. But Thou Didst Not Leave His Soul in Hell
10. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates
See all 27 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Learn about the rich history and spiritual depth of the most performed music and message in all of history!

Salvation, Peace, Purity, Comfort, Rest, Reformation, Revolution, Spiritual Egalitarianism, Democracy, Redemption, Resurrection, Forgiveness, Restoration, Atonement, Victory, Praises, Eternity, Security, Providence, Brotherhood, Worship.

Handel’s Messiah is a great work for orchestra, chorus and soloists. The text is taken from the Bible and forms a dramatic commentary on the whole prophecy and fulfillment of the redemption of man.

As with all oratorios, Messiah, is divided into three parts. In Messiah, the three parts represent Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection; each part breaking down into a series of arias and choruses, with a Biblical passage as their basis.

Messiah is Handel’s (1685-1759) most famous work and remains immensely popular among concert-goers in the English-speaking world.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-crafted performance. November 14, 2007
Format:Audio CD
John Rutter's elegant rendition of Handel's Messiah is terrific. Every selection is flawlessly performed. I truly appreciate the research behind the performance included in the liner notes. The solos are quite nice. I particularly enjoy "Rejoice greatly" and "How beautiful are the feet".
With only thirty singers, the Cambridge Singers are able to deliver this work in a light, buoyant way. Some performances of this work come across as too heavy and ponderous. Not so with Rutter at the podium. Joy exudes from every note.
This is a lyric masterpiece that I am sure will come to be the reference recording for performing groups all over the world.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Messiah recording I have heard December 11, 2007
Format:Audio CD
John Rutter's recording of the Messiah is the best I have ever heard-- and I have heard many. The soloists have pure tone and precise pitch. The Cambridge Singers sing in balanced harmony and the choir blessedly lacks the shrillness and warble of some American choirs. Even John Rutter's program notes in the accompanying booklet are theologically sensitive and profound. The tenor soloist is particularly good. You will find this one the best Messiah recording you have heard.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine first-tier Messiah recommendation December 28, 2007
By Yi-Peng
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As a fan of Rutter and the Cambridge Singers, I knew their take on Handel's Messiah was a natural for me. Although the sound of the Cambridge Singers has changed over the years, it has never lost its distinctive hallmarks, as on this recording. Rutter has a first-class group of young soloists, and I especially like the soprano and bass soloists. I know that Melanie Marshall might not be able to touch Anne Sofie von Otter's renditions of the alto parts on Pinnock's DG recording, but she gives a truly heartbreaking account of He was despised. Throughout, the tempi is brisk and bright, but yet the performance bubbles with conviction and commitment. Rutter also shines as a choral conductor, eliciting a superb overall sound from his choir and crafting avery nuance intricately in the manner of Robert Shaw. I think this would probably be one of my top dogs for Messiah, alongside Pinnock, Gardiner and the live Cleobury-King's College version.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great new recording of classic work December 17, 2008
Format:Audio CD
I was pleased to find this new recording of Handel's Messiah by John Rutter recently, as I try to collect one or two recordings of this work each year. I was surprised to find, however, that this was Rutter's first commercial effort. In any event, this recording is exceptionally well done. For those more particular listeners unsure of whether they prefer the shorter, crisp articulation of the Boston Baroque, or those who prefer the larger, more lush sounds of the Toronto Symphony/Davis recording, this is a happy medium. The tempi are very comfortable - not too slow, not too fast. The orchestra and chorus share a unified, impeccable articulation (which does tend to the shorter side, for those looking for more clarity), and the soloists are all more than capable. The ornamentation in the solo sections also seems to be just right - enough to admire their great technical skills, but not so much as to get in the way of the music, or to be too "showy." The recording quality is very nice, and the price is excellent.

This is a great recording for those who want to know more about this work, and for the seasoned collector, it provides a wonderful addition to current collections.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best recorded performance of Messiah I've heard April 5, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is the newest recording of Messiah and it is wonderful. John Rutter and his band of musicians have captured the essence of this oratorio. Tempi are appropriate and not exessively fast. The balance between choir and orchestra is excellant and the soloists fit the piece.
Technically, the recording is several levels above the ususal.
I have posessed a number of recordings of Messiah over the years and this is the best!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The indispensable Messiah recording October 2, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have always loved and appreciated Handel's Messiah, having heard almost endlessly from infancy. And I also have a special love for Rutter and the Cambridge Singers. They have a touching way of bringing choral music to life. So when I heard that Rutter had recorded Handel's Messiah, I could scarcely believe my ears. A few months after its release, my parents gave it to me as a birthday present. It has lived up to my highest expectations; in fact, it surpassed them. Rutter delivers all the freshness he and his choir have won fame for, but he also gives a stupendously accurate performance. In other words, his freshness does not sacrifice the religious fervor and passion that is necessary for a truly satisfying performance. While this is not performed on period instruments, it can claim more historical accuracy than the vast majority of Messiah renditions.

The soloists on this CD are all exceptional, especially James Gilchrist, the tenor. They do not exaggerate, but neither do they give us run-throughs. The meaning and message of each piece is revealed in a passionate way without resorting to hysteria as is sometimes done. While some soloists elsewhere may give satisfying performances, very few will match our soloists here.

Even more rewarding are the Cambridge Singers. Despite their small numbers (around thirty), they give us an amazing clarity and detail that much bigger groups cannot match. Every part can be heard crystal clearly. Too often these choruses are turned into monotonous, boring chants. Not here. There is life on every page, as it were. But all the awe of worship and adoration is left in. One feels like singing along it is so alive and real.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Dazzling!
Part of my annual tradition, both Christmas and Easter, was to play numerous times the Toronto Symphony version (1985) of The Messiah to the point it was "skipping" from... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Linda Byrd-Dennison
5.0 out of 5 stars Handel Messiah: The Complete Work [With Booklet]
Excellent! Replaces the record I had many many years ago. It sounds great.
It jsut blessed my Christmas. Is good for all Christian Seasons.
Published 15 months ago by Dee O
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
I've spent years listening to The Messiah as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I finally realized that those voices, though food, weren't fine. Read more
Published 15 months ago by REB
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb recording of a classic
I wanted to buy a complete version for my wife, and chose this version. It is incredible, well-performed by superb artists. The interpretation of the oratorio is superb. Read more
Published 15 months ago by IJR
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Messiah
I had a previous LP record of the Messiah, which I enjoyed. But, this performance was far superior. The voices were very beautiful, words clearly son, and had much passion. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Lorenzo
4.0 out of 5 stars **** 1/2 A very good update of the kind of reduced Messiah made famous...
This is essentially an update of the "new" Messiah that burst on the scene under Colin Davis in 1966. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Santa Fe Listener
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Recording for Messiah Lovers!
Conductor and composer John Rutter has been a fan of this work for a long time - and it shows. The orchestra is simply excellent as are the Cambridge Singers. Read more
Published 17 months ago by B. D. Woods
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Classical Music!
An excellent production of the masterpiece work by Handel! I listen to it throughout the year - not just during the holidays. I especially like the choral selections! Read more
Published 17 months ago by Terry G
5.0 out of 5 stars Cambridge Singers/ Messiah: the Complete Work
Beautifully recorded. Cambridge Singers and John Rutter are among my favorite Choral groups and conductors. I would highly recommend this recording.
Published 18 months ago by A. Tuten
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a music critic, but...
This recording was a revelation. From the opening of the first disc, I was captured by the crispness of the diction of both the chorus and soloists, the understated background of... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Bob
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