RECORDINGS

LABEL: BELART
CATALOG NUMBER: 461 629-2
UPC NUMBER: 028946162927
NUMBER OF DISCS: 3
RUNNING TIME: 3:20:35
YEAR RECORDED: 1954
CD RELEASE DATE: 1999
CONDUCTOR: SIR ADRIAN BOULT
ORCHESTRA: LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: LONDON PHILHARMONIC CHOIR
SOPRANO: JENNIFER VYVYAN
ALTO: NORMA PROCTER
TENOR: GEORGE MARAN
BASS: OWEN BRANNAGAN


AUDIO SAMPLES OTHER RELEASES
Decca MA 25002/1-3 DVOX SVBX5203

DISC ONE

Part I
1. Overture 4:45
2. Comfort ye, My people 4:03
3. Every valley shall be exalted 3:57
4. And the glory of the Lord 3:09
5. Thus saith the Lord 1:45
6. But who may abide 4:42
7. And He shall purify 2:37
8. Behold a Virgin shall conceive 0:34
9. O thou that tellest 6:23
10.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth 2:37
11. The people that walked in darkness 3:34
12. For unto us a Child is born 4:18
13. Pastoral Symphony 3:22
14. There were shepherds/And lo! The Angel of the Lord/And the Angel said unto them/And suddenly there was with the  Angel 2:04
15. Glory to God 1:59
16. Rejoice greatly 4:59
17. Then shall the eyes of the blind 0:30
18. He shall feed His flock 6:20
19. His yoke is easy 2:37
DISC TWO

 Part II
1. Behold the Lamb of God 3:56
2. He was despised 12:48
3. Surely He hath borne our griefs 2:45
4. And with His stripes 2:14
5. All we like sheep 4:35
6. All they that see Him 0:55
7. He trusted in God 2:48
8. Thy rebuke hath broken His heart 2:10
9. Behold, and see 1:48
10. He was cut off 0:20
11. But Thou didst not leave 2:54
12. Lift up your heads 3:30
13. Unto which of the Angels 0:25
14. Let all the Angels of God 1:44
15. Thou art gone up on high 3:34
16. The Lord gave the word 2:04
17. How beautiful are the feet 2:59
18. Their sound is gone out 1:55
19. Why do the nations 2:44
20. Let us break their bonds asunder 2:04
21. He that dwelleth in Heaven 0:17
22. Thou shalt break them 2:16
23. Hallelujah 4:35
DISC THREE

Part III
1. I know that my Redeemer liveth 7:25
2. Since by man came death 1:59
3. Behold, I tell you a mystery 0:41
4. The trumpet shall sound 8:54
5. Then shall be brought to pass 0:25
6. O death, where is thy sting?/But thanks be to God 4:18
7. If God be for us 5:59
8. Worthy is the Lamb... Amen 8:34

Handel Arias
9. Ombra Mai fu (Largo) from Xerxes 4:22
10. Air: Love in her Eyes Sits Playing from Acis and Galatea 6:28
11. Silent Worship (Did you not hear my lady) from Ptolemy 2:38
12. Recit: Deeper and Deeper still;
Aria: Waft her, angels from Jephtha 8:37
13. Where e'er you walk from Semele 3:59
14. Recit: Thanks to my Brethren;
Aria: How vain is man from Judas Maccabaeus 7:21
15. Recit: My arms against this gorgias will I go;
Aria: Sound an alarm from Judas Maccabaeus 3:59

SITE RATING:  8/10
SITE REVIEW:  Sir Adrian Boult's 1954 mono Decca recording of Messiah is one of the rarer ones on disc; I found my copy of Belart's 1999 excellent 3-CD transfer on eBay for under ten dollars, but as of this writing, it's only readily available as an import from the UK.  (There is also a 3-CD version put out on Platinum/Prism, but it is a vastly inferior vinyl transfer).  In some ways, the Boult Messiah is preferable over those of  his contemporary, Sir Thomas Beecham (whom Boult despised), whose Messiahs almost always contained cuts, and Boult's recording is complete.  Boult's style certainly has its strengths besides its completeness: although from the "old school" of conducting, with slower, grander tempos, Boult directs with a strong hand towards dramatic accents, allowing the tempos to be filled with small, interior "moments" which flesh out the text.  Sometimes however, he allows his dramatic license to exceed common sense - in what may be the longest "He Was Despised" ever, Boult allows it to drag to almost thirteen minutes in length!  However, the rest of the oratorio does not suffer from that extreme largess.  The soloists are good - tenor George Maran seems a trifle undernourished in his tone - he sounds timid and nervous; soprano Jennifer Vyvyan is surprisingly good - even by modern standards, bringing an occasional pure "white" tone to her arias that rivals modern-day rivals.  The sound, for being in mono, is very warm and immediate - Belart's reissue, much like Biddulph's Beecham Messiah, is filled out with arias from other Handel oratorios and operas - in this instance with performances by Kenneth McKellar.  Another worthy 1950s-era recording that's worthy of a listen.


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