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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The 1751 version of the Messiah is the one I am most familiar with, and this is a good recording.Published 13 months ago by Karen Harbour
Safe purchase. Not inspiring performance in any realm. I do enjoy it, I still prefer Sir Thomas Beecham's relic for the thrill (and immensity).Published 16 months ago by J. R. Brookens
I am used to listening this piece by Handel.
Mostly, I am filled with a feeling of contentment. Read more
This recording seems to be well-done. I bought it because of the treble soloists, which I much prefer to a more operatic approach. Read morePublished on December 5, 2013 by Becca Bee
I've been listening to Handel's Messiah a lot. I've become familiar with a number of versions. I decided I wanted to hear Herr Mozart's arrangement. Read morePublished on August 31, 2013 by Schlobber Hans
I love the music and this particular presentation is great. I wish I had not misplaced my prior compact disc.Published on June 22, 2013 by Robert Churchill
This edition of Handel's Messiah, sung with male voices, is superb! Having period instruments means you can hear the accompaniment wonderfully, especially the cello which is great! Read morePublished on February 28, 2013 by Lee
It's Mozart perceiving George F. Handel. Beautiful and inspired two times (2X)! An extraodinary piece of music made even more beautiful!Published on February 9, 2013 by Jeff Stensrud