RECORDINGS

LABEL: ABC CLASSICS
CATALOG NUMBER: ABC 476 289-0
UPC NUMBER: 0028947628903
NUMBER OF DISCS: 3
RUNNING TIME: 53:40, 52:38, 53:03
YEAR RECORDED: 2004
CD RELEASE DATE: 2004
CONDUCTOR: ANTONY WALKER, VARIOUS
ORCHESTRA: ORCHESTRA OF THE ANTIPODES, VARIOUS
CHOIR: CANTILLATION, VARIOUS
SOPRANO: SARA MACLIVER, ISOBEL BAILLIE
COUNTERTENOR: CHRISTOPHER FIELD
TENOR: PAUL MCMAHON, PETER SCHREIER
BASS: TEDDY TAHU RHODES
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AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES

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DISC ONE

1. Introduction - 4:43
2. The Text - 3:09
3. The coming of the Messiah: Isaiah - 5:11
4. The coming of the Messiah: the minor         prophets - 7:33
5. The coming of the Messiah: Isaiah             revisited - 4:01
6. The birth of the Messiah - 16:46
7. The life of the Messiah - 11:34
8. Conclusion - 0:43
DISC TWO

1. Introduction - 0:36
2. The death of the Messiah - 8:51
3. The Passion choruses - 14:54
4. The resurrection and ascension of the         Messiah - 11:48
5. The propagation of the Gospel - 2:27
6. The rejection of the Gospel - 4:44
7. The victory of the Messiah over the             enemies of the Gospel - 8:40
8. Conclusion 0:43
DISC THREE

1. Introduction 0:50
2. The individual's life of faith 6:56
3. The resurrection of the faithful 9:55
4. The believer's confidence 2:53
5. The vision of eternity 8:53
6. Handel and Messiah 2:44
7. Mozart and Messiah 3:56
8. The Crystal Palace performances 5:30
9. Sir Malcolm Sargent and Messiah 5:37
10. Sir Thomas Beecham, Sir Eugene               Goossens and Messiah 5:21
11. Conclusion 0:34

SITE RATING:  8/10
SITE REVIEW:  ABC Classics, using (mostly) their own 2002 recording of Messiah with Antony Walker, put together this three-hour radio program, narrated by Graham Abbott in 2004.  As an "introduction" to Handel's Messiah, it's an excellent audio overview of the oratorio - breaking it down into three main parts, (one on each disc) and each disc covering the three sections of Messiah, with audio samples taken from the Walker Messiah, and one track each from various re-arrangements, namely, the 1974 Mackerras Der Messias (arr. Mozart), the 1926 "Crystal Palace" Henry Wood-conducted Messiah (arr. Michael Costa and Henry Wood); the 1946 Malcolm Sargent Messiah (arr. Sargent); and the 1959 Thomas Beecham Messiah (arr. Eugene Goossens) which all make their appearance on the final disc.  The narration is well-done, with both historical, textual and musicological examinations of the oratorios various themes, sources, and origins, referencing the original performers, Handel's own changes that he made due to the strengths of his forces, the friction which rose between Handel and Jennens over Handel's setting of the texts; the operatic influences in Messiah, the sources for the various "borrowed" pieces within the work; and much, much more. Granted, none of this is examined in much depth - Abbott's narration is limited due to the extended (although edited) audio clips which pepper the program, but I was impressed by how much information, and how little "fluff" the writers were able to transcribe into each disc.  Abbott doesn't talk "down" to the listener, but assumes a level of education and interest in his audience that was on par with other high-end documentary works.  It would be nice to have a program like this on video, since visual accompaniment would further enhance the educational and entertainment value of this documentary.  As it is, I learned some things, and appreciated the effort that went into making Messiah more approachable to new listeners.


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