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Messiah Comp [Import]

George Frideric Handel Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 32.59 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Disc: 1
1. Messiah: Part One - 1. Sinfony (Grave - Allegro moderato)
2. Messiah: Part One - 2. Accompagnato : Comfort Ye My People
3. Messiah: Part One - 3. Air : Ev'ry Valley Shall Be Exalted
4. Messiah: Part One - 4. Chorus : And The Glory Of The Lord Shall Be Revealed
5. Messiah: Part One - 5. Accompagnato : Thus Saith The Lord Of Hosts
6. Messiah: Part One - 6. Air : But Who May Abide The Day Of His Coming
7. Messiah: Part One - 7. Chorus : And He Shall Purify
8. Messiah: Part One - 8. Recitative : Behold, A Virgin Shall Conceive
9. Messiah: Part One - 9. Air and Chorus : O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings
10. Messiah: Part One - 10. Accompagnato : For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover
See all 21 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Messiah: Part Two - 24. Chorus : Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs
2. Messiah: Part Two - 25. Chorus : And With His Stripes We Are Healed
3. Messiah: Part Two - 26. Chorus : All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray
4. Messiah: Part Two - 27. Accompagnato : All They That See Him
5. Messiah: Part Two - 28. Chorus : He Trusted In God
6. Messiah: Part Two - 29. Accompagnato : Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart
7. Messiah: Part Two - 30. Arioso : Behold, And See If There Be Any Sorrow
8. Messiah: Part Two - 31. Accompagnato : He Was Cut Off Out Of The Land
9. Messiah: Part Two - 32. Air : But Thou Didst Not Leave His Soul
10. Messiah: Part Two - 33. Chorus : Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates
See all 30 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Trevor Pinnock meets with mixed success in this account of the Messiah with the English Concert & Choir and soloists Arleen Auger, Anne Sofie von Otter, Michael Chance, Howard Crook, and John Tomlinson, recorded and released in 1988. Its strengths are the strengths of the early-music movement in general. The size and distribution of the instrumental and vocal forces are optimal, which means that textures are clear and balances apt. Rhythms are nicely pointed, though often, in Pinnock's case, not quite well enough sprung. Tempos are well chosen; for example, "All we like sheep"--which turns out to be one of the set's best numbers--is a real bourré, and Pinnock animates it in just the right way. But the performance often seems workmanlike and unemotional, weighed down in too many instances by the humdrum work of the chorus. The alto section in particular, which is half male and half female, sings timidly and is constantly swallowing its entrances. Bass soloist John Tomlinson is a further drag on the effort. He has the right idea--that there's an Italian opera hiding behind all this biblical imagery--but his cottony sound is out of place, a misguided attempt to mimic Nicolai Ghiaurov. His usable range is less than a tenth (he croaks the low G's and F-sharps), and his diction is horrible. "Thus spake the Lord" is strangled, and when, in "The trumpet shall sound" Tomlinson gets to the words "we shall be changed," one can't help wishing that he had been changed too, right before the sessions started. --Ted Libbey

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a revelation! April 7 2004
Format:Audio CD
What a wonderful, exciting recording of Handel's venerable masterpiece.
I suppose by now I must have heard Messiah live a dozen or so times, and I must have heard at least two dozen recordings.
In the baroque tradition, it is so wide open to interpretation no two performances can ever sound the same. That's part of the excitement of the baroque fach.
This remarkable recording strives for authenticity without seeming to be covered by a layer of dust or, even worse, mold.
It succeeds magnificently. The performance is straight forward and unencumbered by centuries of troweled on nonsense. It is a performance Mr. Handel himself would have recognized. And yet, it is a performance that is perfectly modern as well. The soloists all know their music and are comfortable with it.
While it would be supremely unfair to single out any one of the outstanding soloists, I cannot help but call attention to the beautiful contribution here from the magnificent Arleen Auger. Tragically, she would be taken from us barely four years after this recording was made. She was, here, at the absolute pinnacle of her formidable artistic powers. It is a fitting tribute to the great contribution she made to the art form she so obviously loved.
Finally, not enough can be said of Trevor Pinnock. His intelligence allows Handel to be the driving force of this performance. Pinnock never gets in the way of the composer and, therefore, leaves his usual stamp of excellence on the performance.
This is, simply, a great recording.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best to date! March 20 2003
Format:Audio CD
Much as I have enjoyed recordings of Messiah by Beecham, (Colin) Davis, Mackerras, Hogwood, Gardiner and Christie over the years, Pinnock's is the version that I feel best captures the spirit and beauty of Handel's immortal masterwork. It provides the best of both worlds - combining the clarity and fluency of period instruments with the power and gravitas of the best English choral tradition. Soloists and chorus sing in accordance with historically informed practice but are not afraid to invest their performances with emotion and humanity.
Pinnock's tempi have been criticised by some for being too slow but I disagree. Other conductors treat the opening Sinfonia like the overture of a baroque orchestral suite. Pinnock emphasises the solemnity and portent in the music, underlining the momentous event that is about to unfold - namely, the arrival of the Messiah. The soloists are uniformly excellent without a single weak link; it's almost unfair to single out individuals but mention has to be made of Auger's radiantly pure singing in Parts I and III; von Otter's eloquent "He was despised" - the central jewel of this performance - and Chance's unique voice - IMHO warmer and more sensitive than any countertenor before or since.
The recording balance is near perfect - a warm but not over-resonant acoustic which lends a satisfying body to the big choruses, so that the cries of "Wonderful Consellor" ring out lustily while the Hallelujah and Amen choruses have a power that never fails to bring a tingle to my spine and tears to my eyes.
While I have enjoyed the fresh insights that new recordings may bring, I think I will always return to Pinnock's version to remind me what makes Messiah great and why I will always love it so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lasting, favorite Messiah Dec 22 2002
By Grady Harp TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Handel's MESSIAH is one of the most recorded works in the CD catalogue and finding the particular performance that moves you is difficult. There is no 'one way' to perform this perennial favorite, though some will demand that the work be performed on period instruments and with the quality of tone and ornamentation assigned by scholars to Handel's time. Others want the drama of a Beecham or Ormandy performance. Some listen for the tiny choral ensemble while for others the massed chorus is most important for the drama. Some buy their version for the soloists, others for the conductor. Given all of these variations and having listened to most of the performances available on recordings, I inevitably return to this recording as conducted by Trevor Pinnock. In this recording the superb soloists (Arleen Auger, Anne Sophie von Otter, Michael Chance, Howard Crook and John Tomlinson) seem at one with the orchestral and choral forces, individuality is secondary to the overall effect of this very tender, celebratory, and dramatic oratorio performance. Just light enough to satisfy the toughest of the baroque aficiondos yet with enough intensity to make the more romantic period devotees happy. Some grateful additions are the use of the countertenor to sing some of the alto parts. Overall of these attributes conductor Pinnock has a firm grasp of the overall 'story' and effect. The flow of the work is steady right to the ending chorus. This is a very fine 'total thinking' of a masterwork.
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5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT!!!!!!!!!! Aug. 13 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
My, my, my!!!!!!!! What a recording! It does really blow you away! Arleen Auger is marvelous! Anne Sophie von Otter is stupendous! Michael Chance is wonderfull! Howard Crook is awsome! And John Tomlinson is magical!!!!!!!! BUY THIS CD SOON!!!!!!!!!!! ... (also try Parrott's recording)!!!!!!!!!!
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