If you want to own one recording of Handel's Messiah , this hybrid Super Audio CD version of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concentus Musicus Wien just might be it-Harnoncourt studied the composer's original manuscripts to craft a performance as close to the intention of the original as possible. And the sound just might make you break out a Hallelujah! chorus of your own!
Harnoncourt makes some interesting points in this live recording with the Concentus Musicus Wien, the Stockholm Chamber Choir, and soloists Elizabeth Gale, Marjana Lipovsek, Werner Hollweg, and Roderick Kennedy, which dates from November 1982. He takes a remarkably gentle approach with "For unto us," making it sound almost as if it were a lullaby, yet achieves real vehemence in the strings' depiction of the "refiner's fire" in "But who may abide." Unfortunately, it is in this aria that we first encounter one of the set's main problems, the rather heavily accented English of soloist Lipovsek. There is also a recognizable foreignness to the way the Swedish chorus sings, which might tend to distance an American listener from this recording. --Ted Libbey
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.