RECORDINGS

LABEL: BIDDULPH RECORDINGS
CATALOG NUMBER: WHL 059/061
UPC NUMBER: 744718306121
NUMBER OF DISCS: 3
RUNNING TIME: 3:20:00
YEAR RECORDED: 1947
CD RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 24, 1998
CONDUCTOR: SIR THOMAS BEECHAM
ORCHESTRA: ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: LUTON CHORAL SOCIETY, SPECIAL CHORUS
SOPRANO: ELSIE SUDDABY
ALTO: MARJORIE THOMAS
TENOR: HEDDLE NASH
BASS: TREVOR ANTONY


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES

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(WILL OPEN IN NEW WINDOW)


DISC ONE

1. Spoken introduction to "Messiah" by Sir Thomas Beecham

Part One
2. Overture
3. "Comfort Ye, My People"
4. "Ev'ry Valley Shall Be Exalted"
5. "And the Glory of the Lord"
6. "Thus Saith the Lord"
7. "But Who May Abide"
8. "And He Shall Purify"
9. "Behold, a Virgin Shall Conceive"
9. "O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings to Zion"
10. "For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth"
11. "The People that Walked in Darkness"
12. "For Unto Us a Child is Born"
13. Pastoral Symphony
14. "There Were Shepherds"
15. "Glory to God in the Highest"
16. "Rejoice Greatly"
17. "Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind"
18. "He Shall Feed His Flock"
19. "His Yoke is Easy"
DISC TWO

Part Two

1. "Behold the Lamb of God"
2. "He Was Despised and Rejected"
3. "Surely He Hath Born Our Griefs"
4. "And With His Stripes We are Healed"
5. "All We Like Sheep"
6. "All They that See Him"
7. "He Trusted in God"
8. "Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart"
9. "Behold and See"
10. "He Was Cut Off"    
11. "But Thou Didst Not Leave His Soul"
12. "Lift Up Your Heads"
13. "Thou are Gone Up on High"
14. "The Lord Gave the Word"
15. "How Beautiful are the Feet"
16. "Their Sound is Gone Out"
17. "Why do the Nations"
18. "Let Them Break Their Bonds Asunder"
19. "He That Dwelleth in Heaven"
20. "Hallelujah"
DISC THREE

Part Three

1. "I Know that My Redeemer Liveth"

2. "Since By Man Came Death"
3. "Behold, I Tell You a Mystery"
4. "The Trumpet Shall Sound"
5. "Then Shall be Brought to Pass"    
6. "O Death Where is thy Sting/But Thanks Be to God"
7. "If God Be For Us"
8. "Unto Which of the Angels"    
9. "Worthy is the Lamb"
10. "Amen"

11. Israel in Egypt, oratorio, HWV 54: But as for His People
12. Israel in Egypt, oratorio, HWV 54: Moses and the Children of Israel
13. Israel in Egypt, oratorio, HWV 54: The Lord is a Man of War
14. Israel in Egypt, oratorio, HWV 54: The Lord is a Man of War
15. Amaryllis Suite (assembled and arranged by Thomas Beecham): Gavotte
16. Amaryllis Suite (assembled and arranged by Thomas Beecham): Scherzo
17. Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio), in six parts, BWV 248 (BC D7): Sinfonia

SITE RATING:  3/10
SITE REVIEW:  Listening to Beecham's 1947 Messiah is a peek into performance styles of the 1940s, which was heavily sentimental, florid, and, in a way, very attuned to "Hollywood" views of classical music.  The singers have an overblown, presentational style of singing which is completely foreign to modern audiences, but can be easily typed by listening to the expensive Hollywood musicals of the day, which were unsurpassed in opulence and splendor.  The singers here sound as if they could have been carried right off of MGM's studio lot, with Elsie Suddaby, Marjorie Thomas, Heddle Nash, and Trevor Antony sounding, not as if they were "classical" artists, but rather that they were auditioning for various parts in The Wizard of Oz.  Honestly - listen to "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth" and see if you don't picture Billie Burke's Glinda The Good Witch singing it, or to "Behold, I Tell You Mystery" and see if it doesn't remind you of Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion.  It's a very odd sensation.  They have a distinctive fluttery tone to their vibratos, and a naturalness to their vocal qualities that reveals their unfamiliarity with electronic recording techniques.  In a way, it makes this a strange, surreal listening experience, humorous in a way, but so out-of-tune with modern training and audience expectations, that I suspect this recording will have only academic interest to Messiah fans; it's fascinating to listen to for all its stylistic and idiosyncratic differences, but not of great merit otherwise.  The Biddulph Recording, which I believe is now out of print, contains three CDs, preserving the original LP release, with the third CD filled out with contemporary recordings by Beecham, while the Classica D'Oro release squeezes the program on to two CDs.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
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