SITE RATING: 2/10
There are few Chinese-language recordings of Messiah
that I'm aware of, which alone makes this recording of interest; and
this one, from 1971, is the first I'd heard. A bare-bones
production of the Chinese Christian Mission of Detroit, Michigan, and
directed by Lucy W. Chen, this recording is accompanied by both organ
and piano, and features a small church choir. Nevertheless, it's a
complete recording, which is in itself ambitious for such a group.
Organist Stephen Denmark performs a convincing Overture, and then
pianist Dorothy Hwang joins for the arias. Tenor Henry Hwang is
unfortunately very tremulous on his solos, with a swallowed tone and
nervous vibrato throughout. The same amateurishness is evident in
the chorus, with flat, unornamented performances being the hallmark of
the First Evangelical Church Choir of Los Angeles. Bass Joshua T.
Law is more effective, giving a stern, authoritative reading to his
arias, while alto Esther Lee sings remotely, with little feeling or
spirit. Soprano Shirley Lau has a somewhat shrill tone, and
unfortunately brings nothing substantive to her moments. There is
also an odd, trilling quality to the organ, giving it a carnival ride
quality that is very strange. Besides Mr. Law and a few scattered
moments of choral unity, there is little to recommend this recording,
except as a collector's curiosity.