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Messiah

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 25, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

2 CD set.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Overture
  2. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Allegro moderato
  3. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Recitative. Comfort ye
  4. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Aria. Every Valley
  5. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Chorus. And the Glory of the Lord
  6. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Recitative. Thus saith the Lord
  7. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Aria. But who may abide
  8. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Chorus. And He shall purify
  9. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Recitative. Behold! A Virgin
  10. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Aria. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
  11. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Recitative. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth
  12. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Aria. The people that walked in darkness
  13. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Chorus. For unto us a Child is born
  14. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Pastoral Symphony / Recitative. There were shepherds
  15. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Accompagnato. And lo!, the Angel
  16. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Recitative. And the Angel said unto them
  17. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Accompagnato. And suddenly there was with the Angel
  18. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Chorus. Glory to God
  19. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Aria. Rejoice greatly
  20. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Recitative. Then shall the eyes of the blind
  21. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Aria. He shall feed His flock / Aria. Come unto him
  22. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Chorus. His yoke is easy

Disc: 2

  1. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Behold the Lamb of God
  2. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Aria. He was despised
  3. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Surely, He hath borne our griefs
  4. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. And with his Stripes
  5. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. All we like sheep have gone astray
  6. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Recitative. All they that see Him
  7. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. He trusted in God
  8. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Recitative. Thy rebuke hath broken His heart
  9. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Aria. Behold, and see
  10. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Recitative. He was cut off
  11. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Aria. But Thou didst not leave
  12. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Lift up your heads
  13. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. The Lord gave the Word
  14. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Aria. How beautiful are the feet of them
  15. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Aria. Why do the nations
  16. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Let us break their bonds asunder
  17. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Aria. Thou shalt break them
  18. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Hallelujah!
  19. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Aria. I know that my Redeemer liveth
  20. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Chorus. Since by man came death
  21. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Recitative. Behold, I tell you a mystery
  22. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Aria. The trumpet shall sound
  23. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Chorus. Worthy is the Lamb
  24. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Chorus. Amen


Product Details

  • Conductor: Mackerras
  • Composer: G.F. Handel
  • Audio CD (April 25, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Signum
  • ASIN: B000EGEZG0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,991 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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'THIS IS NOT SACRED' JENNENS SAID, TO WHICH HANDEL AGREED;
I SIMPLY WANT TO CHARM MY PUBLIC AND HELP THOSE THAT ARE IN NEED!
'Handel's most popular and joyous oratorio, a work of unfailing melodic invention and dramatic expressiveness, has become a British national institution, regularly performed by all manner of choirs and orchestras. This new recording (January,2006) provides the ONLY re-construction of Handel's unique London performances in 1751,when he used BOY TREBLE VOICES not only for the choruses but for the arias as well. It is both a celebration of the British chapel choir tradition and a window onto a particular time and place in the history of HANDEL'S own PERFORMANCES of his masterpiece.'

It seems like I, personally, have waited all my life to hear the Messiah performed in this manner. I only hope that Handel somehow can also hear this absolutely magnificent rendition of this oratorio. Because of the use of the treble voices in the soprano and the male alto voices one can FINALLY hear the inner parts of the choral numbers. Thus,the balance of the voice parts is maintained. When I first heard the chorus enter in Part 1 with "And the glory of the Lord" it was like heaven opened up, and God appeared!!! Just fabulous sound!!!!!The entrances are clean and the diction thruout is quite easy to understand.

Higginbottom's tempi are upbeat and bouncy; "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" really rocked!!!!I loved it! One has to remember that strictly speaking Handel did not write this to be a sacred composition and it actually was performed only once in a consecrated building. Rather his purpose was to delight and charm his listeners.
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7 Comments 59 of 62 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I tend to avoid buying several different versions of the same work, but with works like "Messiah" there are a variety of different versions by the composer and also wide differences in style and forces among the recordings available. So I have several recordings of this ever-popular piece.

Like Higginbottom's New College recording of Bach's St. John Passion, this performance uses boys as soloists for the soprano parts (except that "Rejoice greatly" is sung by the tenor). It's modeled after an actual performance that Handel did, in 1751 when he apparently had the good fortune to find some trebles who could, in the words of conductor Higginbottom in his notes, "step up to the plate". These three trebles certainly do. They are great and their pure and innocent voices tend to enhance the sincerity of the arias. I couldn't decide which one I liked best. At first, I wondered if an aria like "I know that my redeemer liveth" could be convincingly done by a treble. It took just a few seconds to dispel any doubts.

The tenor and countertenor are also very satisfying.

This issue comes squarely into competition with my previous favorite, that of Hogwood from almost twenty-five years ago, using somewhat similar forces (a boys choir and nominally the same orchestra). But I think these soloists are better. Hogwood's choir is perhaps marginally better in its treble section, but if anything, Higginbottom's pace is or seems even brisker than that of Hogwood, making this a joyous and exhilirating experience.

When I worked at a record store in the mid-'80s, I always put on the Hogwood recording for customers who wanted recommendations and once the first chorus came on, they were almost always sold--unless they did not like English cathedral choirs' sound.
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Comment 35 of 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I had some doubts about this Messiah before I opened it and started playing it. My doubts disappeared almost immediately and never reappeared. This is, simply put, a sensational recording of Handel's best-loved oratorio. And it has the added attraction of being the version he prepared for a 1751 London performance in which the soprano parts were taken by boy trebles. The performers here are the Choir of New College, Oxford, the Academy of Ancient Music, three solo trebles, countertenor Iestyn Davies, tenor Toby Spence and bass Eamonn Dougan all under the direction of New College's long-time music director, Edward Higginbottom.

I'm not enough of a scholar of the various performing editions of 'Messiah' to be able to cite chapter and verse about how this version might differ from others. Suffice it to say that Handel didn't actually leave a definitive version and over the many years that I've heard (or sung) performances of the work, there have often been slight differences. It did not take me long to become very fond of the three solo trebles (Henry Jenkinson, Otta Jones and Robert Brooks) in their solo outings. I was taken by every single treble solo. A friend of mine says he thinks that 'He shall feed his flock' is the loveliest thing Handel ever wrote; I don't know that I'd necessarily agree with him, but I must say that Davies and Jones do a superb job with it.

As for the choir, it is magnificent. Obviously their sound is that of the English cathedral tradition and there are some who don't much care for it; I, on the other hand, admire it wholeheartedly. Higginbottom uses fairly quick tempi and the choir handles those flying sixteenths (in, for instance, 'For unto us a Child is given') with exceedingly clean technique.
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