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Handel: The Messiah (Dublin Version, 1942) [SACD]

soprano Susan Hamilton , mezzo-soprano Annie Gill , alto Clare Wilkinson , tenor Nicholas Mulroy , bass Matthew Brook , et al. Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 38.67 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winner of 2007 Gramophone Award Oct. 15 2007
By Paul Van de Water - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Gramophone Magazine has named this excellent CD the best baroque vocal recording of 2007, and the award is fully merited. As noted above, Scotland's Dunedin Consort has aimed to recreate the premiere performance of Messiah in Dublin in 1742. Their recording now joins two other long-time favorites at the top of my list--the 1977 Marrriner recording of the 1743 London version , and the 1981 Hogwood recording of the 1754 Foundling Hospital version (both on Decca).

The differences between the Dublin version and the "standard" version of Messiah are noticeable, but should not be shocking. Perhaps the most obvious is the inclusion of the 12/8 version of "Rejoice greatly," instead of the more common 4/4 version. You'll find more information at the Dunedin Consort's website, [...]

Among the many virtues of this recording is its clean, natural sound. And that's on my 15-year-old CD player! It has made me eager to upgrade and hear what the disc sounds like in its SACD incarnation.

The relatively small vocal forces are of the highest quality and produce a remarkable clarity without sounding undernourished. The vocal ornamentation is tasteful and not overdone. If you want a larger-scale production, however, check our Marriner.

Paul N. Van de Water
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the Heap! Sept. 8 2007
By Neaklaus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Of all the recordings of Handel's Messiah I have had the pleasure to listen to this is I beleive one of the best yet if not the best.
The first thing I noticed when I was listening was how clean and spacious
the recording seemed. As for the performance, yes the Dublin version takes a little getting used to; if you are used to say the Gardiner recording on Phillips or the Pearlman recording on Telarc parts of this
performance will be different to your ears. Right at the start with "Comfort Ye My People" you hear Four extra notes that are not usually
heard in other versions of Messiah, I found myself getting quite used to them All the soloists aquit themselves briliantly, and the orchestra plays quite well too. One other thing I can say about this performance this is one of the most intimate sounding recordings of Messiah I have yet to hear. I felt that the performers were there just for my listening pleasure. Is this a first choice "Messiah"? Absolutely. If you already own one or more recordings of this work. This SACD set of Messiah from Linn Records is a must have addition to your collection. If I had to
trim my collection of Messiah recordings down to one this would be my choice. I understand that the Dunedin Consorts next recording project will
be Bach's Saint Matthew Passion.
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YES!....You CAN Get It Here, (Finally!)......The Very BEST!!! Aug. 25 2007
By Gregory E. Foster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Wow, Folks! Finally, at last, you can now order this WONDERFUL recording of Handel's MESSIAH in the Dublin Version of 1742, with John Butt leading the Dunedin Consort & Players.

It is the MOST SPECIAL recording of MESSIAH that I know of, and trust me, I've got dozens of recordings of the work! (I have been working on a listmania list of the work for a while, but have not "finished" it, but you're welcome to go there and check it out, this recording is mentioned as #1!)

This recording is a Hybrid SACD, so perhaps that has a lot to do with the sound, but I am not sure. What I DO KNOW is that I have NEVER been so pleased, fulfilled, "In Love With" or whatever, with Handel's Messiah, with all the many recordings that I own. Period.

Beginning right off with Nicholas Mulroy's beautiful, full, tenor in "Comfort Ye" you know that you are in for a special "performance" of this towering work. When the chorus comes in with "And the Glory of the Lord", the space just "opens up" and is filled with the most glorious-sounding choir you have ever heard. Matthew Brook's bass is deep, smooth, and rich...no-one has ever sounded better in this work. Susan Hamilton is a lovely, clear and creamy, soprano, and she projects cleanly above the musicians. Annie Gill and Clare Wilkinson trade off in the contralto roles, and they are just right...the parts that each has (chosen?) just seem to "fit" the expressive qualities of each of their voices. Linn Records have put their hearts into this recording, I am sure. I have never been so "overwhelmed" with a "small scale", "original instrument", "historically accurate" recording in all my years of exploring and listening.

This is a VERY special disc, and once you hear it, you will agree, I just know it! I am so very pleased that Amazon has finally gotten this recording listed here for sale so that now the general public can become acquainted with this great presentation of this towering work, and with more exposure, one can only hope that there will be more entrys into the catalogue of choral works/oratorios by Mr Butt, and the Dunedin Consort & Players.

Do not hesitate to purchase a copy of this marvelous recording...You will NEVER be sorry that you did! (As this is a new listing here on Amazon, there are not any "selections" yet that you can click on to listen to, but hopefully, there might be soon, then you can sample for yourself this truly Benchmark Recording. (One can only hope that Linn Records will continue producing great recordings like this one for our enjoyment).

Do Enjoy this Wonderful Recording of George Frideric Handel's MESSIAH herewith presented in the 1742 Dublin Version. ~operabruin
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By the way, this is presented in a "fold-out" case, heavily varnished, that will stand up for a long while (not a jewel case). The disc holders inside are clear and there are beautiful details of the cover painting behind for your viewing pleasure, and a slip in for the informative insert, also varnished for durability, with informative notes on the performances of 1742. Also, the text of the work is set in an easy to read format and typeface....truly a "first class" presentation for this wonderful recording.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars candy for the ears; probably not for newbies Dec 5 2010
By Andrew Mayzak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This recording is a 180 degree departure from the Romantic aesthetic that is usually associated with "Messiah"... gone are the opera singers, the roaring 100+ member symphony choir, the institutionalized orchestra, and the world famous conductor using the score to preach from the podium. Instead, there is an unpretentious immediacy in the music and a simple sweetness to the oratorio, a joy in both music and God. Free from years of Classical and Romantic influence, this is as close as it gets to what Handel envisioned.

John Butt is to be commended for avoiding the theatrics many conductors attempt when they record "Messiah". Accompanying from a very warm harpsichord, his tempi are even-handed, his dynamics colorful but not overwrought, his soloists are lightly voiced yet tasteful in their choice of ornamentation. Soprano Susan Hamilton turns "Rejoice Greatly" into a bright jig and alto Clare Wilkinson's "He Was Despised" is worth the price of the album alone. Tenor Nicholas Mulroy is elegant and bass Matthew Brook is very fine.

The orchestra is on period instruments, tuned down a half step or so. The choir is made up of the soloists and a handful of others (12 in all). Harmonies are tight, melismas are in sync, and every word is clearly understood. Half English madrigal troupe, half Renaissance polyphonic choir, they are relaxed, joyful, sweet, and highly engaging to the ear.

Recording sonics are impeccable. No static, hiss, or splats on high notes, and excellent balance of voice and instruments. The vocalists are closely recorded, so expect to hear breaths, consonants, and every beautiful flaw in their voices.

I didn't hear a lack of passion... these people LOVE music and the album is one giant Baroque jam session. But the robust spirituality that tends to accompany "Messiah" when performed by, say, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is absent, replaced by a simple unassuming confidence in God. Think village church instead of cathedral. For this reason, newcomers to "Messiah" may want to look elsewhere for something more traditional and less foreign to the ear (the Colin Davis and Marriner recordings are safe bets). For everyone else, very highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious "froyo" of a Messiah Feb. 22 2012
By David "still learning" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I agree with most of the reviews, that this is a very special Messiah, and I've heard many. I'm increasingly inclined to prefer smaller forces rather than massive (and sometimes ponderous) choruses. This is not to say that large forces can't do this well, but the clarity of the Dunedin performance, both musically and verbally, is beautiful. I've heard some wonderful Bach pieces with only one voice per part. While I wouldn't go that far with Messiah, this is a very enjoyable performance that I will listen to often.

Overall, the blend and sound is very "light, sweet and smooth" (hence my "Frozen Yogurt" title). There are lots of interesting but tasteful ornamentation, such as very clear trills in all chorus parts in several spots, such as the Hallelujah. The men in the chorus seem to have more full-bodied voices than the women, so I think the women's parts sometimes are weaker in the sound mix. The ensemble excels in the agile passages, such as "For Unto Us a Child is Born" and "For We Like Sheep" and blends very well in the slower choruses like "Behold the Lamb of God." Where you want all out POWER, you're not going to get it from this recording (e.g., the end of Hallelujah), and I think that the chorus too often goes for a softly tapered end of piece, rather than a ringing fortissimo. So that's a slight negative, but not enough to diminish my impression much.

Still overall, I like the chorus performance a little more than the solo performances, but that doesn't mean the solos are bad, they're just different than I'm accustomed to. The solists have a fresh, wide-eyed innocence to them and sing with minimal vibrato (especially the soprano, who sounds very young and "boyish"). But there are times I miss the full voices that are in many other recordings (after all, several other recordings I've heard have premier operatic voices like Joan Sutherland, Christa Ludwig, Nicolai Gedda, Samuel Ramey, Jerome Hines, Giorgio Tozzi) and the singers in this recording are very lightweight in comparison. A voice such as Carolyn Sampson's would be just right -- fuller than the Dunedin soprano, but not "operatic." Sometimes I prefer rich ice cream to lo-cal froyo!

So, maybe this shouldn't be your only recording, but it deserves to be one of them.

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