RECORDINGS

LABEL: SPARROW
CATALOG NUMBER: SPD 1560
UPC NUMBER: 724385156021
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 141 MIN.
YEAR RECORDED: 1979
CD RELEASE DATE: MARCH 12, 2002
CONDUCTOR: JOHN ALLDIS
ORCHESTRA: LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: LONDON PHILHARMONIC CHOIR
SOPRANO: FELICITY LOTT
CONTRALTO: ALFREDA HODGESON
TENOR: PHILIP LANGRIDGE
BASS: ULRIK COLD


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES


DISC ONE

1. Overture
2. Recitative. Comfort Ye My People
3. Aria. Every Valley Shall Be Exalted
4. Chorus. And The Glory Of The Lord
5. Recitative. Thus Saith The Lord
6. Aria. But Who May Abide The Day Of His Coming?
7. Chorus. And He Shall Purify
8. Recitative. Behold, A Virgin Shall Conceive    
9. Aria & Chorus. O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings To Zion
10. Recitative. For, Behold, A Darkness Shall Cover the Earth
11. Aria. The People That Walked In Darkness
12. Chorus. For Unto Us A Child Is Born
13. Pastoral Symphony
14. Recitative. There Were Shepherds Abiding In The Field
15. Recitative. And The Angel Said Unto Them
16. Recitative. And Suddenly There Was With The Angel    
17. Chorus. Glory to God
18. Aria. Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter Of Zion
19. Recitative. Then Shall The Eyes Of The Blind Be Opened    
20. Aria. He Shall Feed His Flock Like A Shepherd
21. Chorus. His Yoke Is Easy, And His Burthen Is Light
22. Chorus. Behold The Lamb Of God
23. Aria. He Was Despised
DISC TWO

1. Chorus. Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs
2. Chorus. And With His Stripes We Are Healed
3. Chorus. All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray
4. Recitative. All They That See Him, Laugh Him To Scorn
5. Chorus. He Trusted In God That He Would Deliver Him
6. Recitative. Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart
7. Arioso. Behold, And See If There Be Any Sorrow
8. Recitative. He Was Cut Off Out Of The Land Of The Living    
9. Aria. But Thou Didst Not Leave His Soul In Hell
10. Chorus. Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates
11. Aria. How Beautiful Are The Feet Of Them
12. Chorus. Their Sound Is Gone Out Into All Lands
13. Aria. Why Do The Nations So Furiously Rage
14. Chorus. Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder
15. Recitative. He That Dwelleth In Heaven    
16. Chorus. Hallelujah!
17. Aria. I Know That My Redeemer Liveth
18. Chorus. Since By Man Came Death
19. Recitative. Behold, I Tell You A Mystery
20. Aria. The Trumpet Shall Sound
21. Recitative. Then Shall Be Brought To Pass    
22. Duet. O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
23. Chorus. But Thanks Be To God
24. Aria. If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us?
25. Chorus. Worthy Is The Lamb

SITE RATING:  4/10
SITE REVIEW: This performance, from 1979, has long been a best-seller, although for the life of me I can't figure out why.  Released by Christian label Sparrow, the condescending liner notes claim that this recording was made with the intention to be "more friendly to the "man in the pew", (since by inference they're as dumb as rocks and need pandering to) and there was no intention to be "authentic or purist."  Fine and good, but couldn't they at least attempt to create a competent recording?  The 'artists' are all over the map, from tenor Philip Langridge who is strident and brassy in his arias, to bass Ulrik Cold who sounds like HE'S the one being shaken on his forced and unpleasant melismas, to soprano Felicity Lott, who doesn't quite hit the high notes.  The Philharmonic Choir chew through their pieces with nasal, widespread pronunciations, and the tempos throughout are leaden.  What truly surprises me is that notable conductor John Alldis is at the head of this performance - it sounds as if some amateur is in charge.  If this is the best that Sparrow could manage, its a wonder that it's managed to sell all these years.  Then again, perhaps the pastors have been plugging it among their congregations, it certainly doesn't deserve success based on its own meager merits. ~ BDW


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2009 Bret D. Wheadon
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