RECORDINGS

LABEL: PHILIPS CLASSICS
CATALOG NUMBER: 438 356-2
UPC NUMBER: 028943835626
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 2.23:44
YEAR RECORDED: 1966
CD RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 9, 1993
CONDUCTOR: SIR COLIN DAVIS
ORCHESTRA: LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: LONDON SYMPHONY CHORUS
SOPRANO: HEATHER HARPER
CONTRALTO: HELEN WATTS
TENOR: JOHN WAKEFIELD
BASS: JOHN SHIRLEY-QUIRK


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES
Philips PHS-900-214COLIN DAVIS Handel Messiah Excerpts
                              PHILIPS 6833 144 LP 1966

DISC ONE

1. Symphony    London Symphony Orchestra     4:08
2. Accompagnato: Comfort ye, My people    John Wakefield    3:07
3. Air: Ev'ry Valley shall be exalted    John Wakefield    3:26
4. Chorus: And the glory of the Lord    London Symphony Chorus    2:45
5. Accompagnato: Thus saith the Lord    John Shirley-Quirk    1:30
6. Air: "But who may abide the day of his coming"    Helen Watts    4:19
7. Chorus: And He shall purify the sons of Levi    London Symphony Chorus    2:14
8. Recit: Behold, a Virgin shall conceive 8. Aria:O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion 9. Coro    Helen Watts    6:39
9. Accompagnato: For behold, darkness shall cover the earth 11. Aria: The people that walked in darkness    John Shirley-Quirk    6:00
10. Chorus: "For unto us a Child is born"    London Symphony Chorus    3:56
11. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)    London Symphony Orchestra    3:01
12. Recitative: There were shepherds - Accompagnato: And lo, the angel of the Lord - Recitative: And the angel said unto them - Accompagnato: And suddenly    Heather Harper    1:26
13. Chorus: Glory to God in the highest    London Symphony Chorus    1:53
14. Air: Rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion    Heather Harper    4:10
15. Recitative: Then shall the eyes of the blind    Helen Watts    0:27
16. Duet: He shall feed his flock    Heather Harper    5:09
17. Chorus: His yoke is easy    London Symphony Chorus    2:08
18. Chorus: Behold the Lamb of God    London Symphony Chorus    3:07
19. Air: He was despised    Helen Watts    9:30

DISC TWO

1. Chorus: Surely He hath borne - And with His stripes - All we like sheep    London Symphony Chorus    8:49
2. Accompagnato: All they that see Him    John Wakefield    0:46
3. Chorus: He trusted in God    London Symphony Chorus    2:22
4. Accompagnato: Thy rebuke hath broken His heart    John Wakefield    1:44
5. Arioso: Behold and see    John Wakefield    1:22
6. Recitativo accompagnato: He was cut off - Air: But Thou didst not leave    Heather Harper    2:50
7. Chorus: Lift up your heads    London Symphony Chorus    3:13
8. Recitativo: Unto which of the angels - Chorus: Let all the Angels    John Wakefield    1:39
9. Air: "Thou art gone up on high"    Helen Watts    3:17
10. Air: How beautiful are the feet    Heather Harper    1:09
11. Chorus: Their sound is gone out    London Symphony Chorus    2:28
12. Air: Why do the nations    John Shirley-Quirk    1:32
13. Chorus: Let us break their bonds asunder    London Symphony Chorus    2:43
14. Recitativo: He that dwelleth - Air: Thou shalt break them    John Wakefield    1:38
15. Chorus: "Hallelujah"    London Symphony Chorus    2:22
16. Air: I know that my Redeemer liveth    Heather Harper    3:51
17. Chorus: Since by man came death    London Symphony Chorus    6:22
18. Accompagnato: Behold, I tell you a mystery    John Shirley-Quirk    2:08
19. Air: The trumpet shall sound    John Shirley-Quirk    0:37
20. Recitativo: Then shall be brought - Duet: O death were is thy sting - Chorus: But thanks be to God    Helen Watts    8:30
21. Chorus: 23. The Lord gave the word    London Symphony Chorus    3:48
22. Air: If God be for us    Heather Harper    4:19
23. Chorus: Worthy is the Lamb... Amen    London Symphony Chorus    7:10


SITE RATING:  10/10
SITE REVIEW:  For years, this 1966 recording by Sir Colin Davis was the standard bearer for Baroque enthusiasts; for one thing, it eschewed the mammoth, heavy forces that had come to define Messiah, Davis used smaller forces and lighter tempos, so, although the period-instrument renaissance was still decades away, it was this recording that was held up as what Messiah could and should be.  And even today, it's a remarkably resilient performance, holding up much better than other recordings, either before or after. Davis used light, dancing tempi, creating a performance that felt far more joyful and brilliant than those of his then-contemporaries.  The London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus sound fresh and lively, and the soloists were chosen for their apparent youth and vitality - tenor John Wakefield and bass John Shirley-Quirk are both brilliant, even if, (in my opinion) they have been surpassed stylistically by more recent talent.  But its hard to argue with the force of contralto's Helen Watts fiery performance on "But Who May Abide The Day Of His Coming", Heather Harper's virtuoso singing on "Rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion."  Everything here sparkles and sings.  Some have complained over the sound quality of Philips Duo release, and have lauded the UK remaster, but to my ears, they both sound splendid, and this performance is easily recommended as an inexpensive first choice for listeners, and an essential part of any Messiah collection.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
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