RECORDINGS

LABEL: TOO HOT TO HANDEL, LLC
CATALOG NUMBER: N/A
UPC NUMBER: N/A
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 102:30
YEAR RECORDED: 2005?
CD RELEASE DATE: 2005
CONDUCTOR: MARIN ALSOP
ORCHESTRA: COLORADO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: COLORADO SYMPHONY CHORUS, MAJESTIC PRAISE CHOIR
SOPRANO: LILIAS WHITE
MEZZO-SOPRANO: VIVIAN CHERRY
TENOR: THOMAS YOUNG
BASS: N/A


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES

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DISC ONE

1. Sinfonia     3:34
2. Comfort Ye     3:12
3. Every Valley     5:12
4. And the Glory of the Lord     2:13
5. Thus Said the Lord     5:03
6. But Who May Abide     3:44
7. And He Shall Purify     2:56
8. Behold a Virgin Shall Conceive     2:11
9. O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion     5:32
10. For Behold Darkness Shall Cover the Earth     5:22
11. The People That Walked In Darkness     3:08
12. For Unto Us a Child Is Born     4:22
13. There Were Shepards Abiding In the Field     6:22

DISC TWO

14. And Suddenly There Was an Angel     1:02
15. Glory to God     4:05
16. Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion     2:33
17. Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind Be Opened     0:54
18. He Shall Feed His Flock     4:33
19. His Yoke Is Easy     5:55
20. Behold the Lamb of God     3:36
21. Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs     4:10
22. All We Like Sheep     3:39
23. He Trusted In God That He Would Deliver Him     3:12
24. Behold I Tell You a Mystery     1:18
25. The Trumpet Shall Sound     3:52
26. The Lord Gave the Word     2:31
27. Why Do the Nations So Furiously Rage     6:38
28. Hallelujah!     6:21

SITE RATING:  4/10
SITE REVIEW:  Falling somewhere between the revisionist highs of A Soulful Celebration and the histrionic lows of Messiah Rocks! comes the uneasy hybrid of Too Hot To Handel: The Gospel Messiah, brainchild of conductor Marin Alsop and arrangers/composers Bob Christianson and Gary Anderson.  To be fair, this recording is probably NOT the best way to be introduced to this work, since, by all reports, it comes off much better in a live setting (and with different performers) than we get on this album.  I wasn't expecting too much pure gospel soul to come out of the Colorado Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, and my expectations were sadly met.  Christianson and Anderson try to re-score Messiah into a swing/jazz/gospel fusion, with a brass section, drums, and a Hammond B-3 Organ joining the string section; but instead of feeling free and easy, I got the distinct impression that I was hearing a bunch of white people trying to "get funky" - and failing miserably.  Not unlike seeing your high-school marching band blaring out a cover version of "Proud Mary" - they may have all the notes right, but it's not going to make anyone forget the original.  Here we have distinctly staid classical soloists who try and "get down" with the gospel choir and swinging rhythms - but it's a mismatch from the word go - tenor Thomas Young has far too wide a vibrato for the jazz/swing style called for; the choirs (a duel between the Colorado Symphony Chorus and the Majestic Praise Choir) have huge stylistic clashes; and the entire program feels like too many cooks tried getting their licks in.  Lacking the transcendent power of Handel's masterwork, yet unable to bring the virtuoso R&B abandon which Quincy Jones did so convincingly on his release, Too Hot To Handel is actually tepid - a lukewarm offering that I found distinctly unappealing.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
All Rights Reserved.