RECORDINGS

LABEL: SIGNUM CLASSICS
CATALOG NUMBER: SIGCD246
UPC NUMBER: 0635212024621
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 71:17; 67:01
DATE RECORDED: DECEMBER 2010
CD RELEASE DATE: MARCH 28, 2011
CONDUCTOR: JANE GLOVER
ORCHESTRA: NORTHERN SINFONIA
CHOIR: HUDDERSFIELD CHORAL SOCIETY
SOPRANO: ELIZABETH WATTS
ALTO: CATHERINE WYN-ROGERS
TENOR: MARK LE BROCQ
BASS: JAMES OLDFIELD


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES



NONE

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DISC ONE

1. Christians awake! salute the happy morn, Christmas hymn
2. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Sinfony
3. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Accompagnato. Comfort Ye
4. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Song. Every Valley
5. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Chorus. And the Glory of the Lord
6. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Accompagnato. Thus saith the Lord
7. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Song. But who may abide
8. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Chorus. And He shall purify
9. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Recitative. Behold, a virgin shall conceive
10. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Song & Chorus. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
11. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Accompagnato. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth
12. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Accompagnato. The people that walked in darkness
13. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Chorus. For unto us a Child is born
14. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)
15. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Recitative. There were shepherds / Accompagnato. And lo, the Angel of the Lord / Recitative
16. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Accompagnato. And suddenly there was with the Angel
17. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Chorus. Glory to God in the highest
18. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Song. Rejoice greatly
19. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Recitative. Then shall the eyes of the blind / Song. He shall feed His flock
20. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Chorus. His yoke is easy
21. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Behold the Lamb of God
22. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Song. He was despised

DISC TWO

1. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Surely, He hath borne our griefs
2. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. And with His stripes
3. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. All we like sheep have gone astray
4. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Accompagnato. All they that see Him
5. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. He trusted in God
6. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Accompagnato. Thy rebuke hath broken His heart
7. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Song. Behold and see
8. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Accompagnato. He was cut off
9. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Song. But Thou didst not leave
10. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Lift up your heads
11. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Song. Thou art gone up on high
12. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. The Lord gave the word
13. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Song. How beautiful are the feet
14. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Their sound is gone out into all lands
15. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Song. Why do the nations so furiously rage
16. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Let us break their bonds asunder
17. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Song. Thou shalt break them
18. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Chorus. Hallelujah!
19. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Song. I know that my Redeemer liveth
20. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Chorus. Since by man came death
21. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Accompagnato. Behold, I tell you a mystery
22. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Song. The trumpet shall sound
23. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Recitative. Then shall be brought to pass / Duet. O death, where is thy sting?
24. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Chorus. But thanks be to God
25. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Song. If God be for us
26. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Chorus. Amen


SITE RATING:  5/10
SITE REVIEW:  To say that I was disappointed in Signum Classics new release of Handel's is perhaps a bit of an understatement. Not that it's a terrible performance, but I was shocked that it's so mundane.  Having been spoiled on recent releases by Frieder Bernius, Stephen Layton, and Jeannette Sorrell,  and having heard wonderful performances out of the Huddersfield Choral Society under Harry Christophers, I was expecting something sharper, more potent.  But this live recording, under the baton of Jane Glover, has no strong vision to its construction, the soloists sound strained and unfocused, and the Huddersfield Choral Society struggles with small intonation problems throughout; and the entire recording sounds a touch bleary.  Tenor Mark Le Brocq (who was sublime under Jurgen Budday's Messiah) sounds more muscled here, a problem which hampers all the soloists, as if they're having to project under natural acoustics, and are pushing their sound out more.  Catherine Wyn-Rogers, who also appeared with the Huddersfield Choral Society on the Christophers set, sounds past her prime here, with a throatier sound and wider vibrato, while Elizabeth Watts sounds strained and a bit brittle.  James Oldfield brings great blustering force to his bass arias, but his timbre thins out in his lower register.  Glovers tempos are neither hot nor cold, but a lackluster middle-ground which didn't engage.  The Huddersfield Choral Society sounds thicker and older here than previous recordings, and their mic'ing is also weighted towards the upper voices, leaving the lower end sadly lacking in the mix, and certain melismas disappear in the muddy blend.  The concert does boast an unusual "extra" - namely a performance of John Wainwright's "Christians Awake" which I felt added a jarring invocation to the listening experience.  A recording that hearkens back to recordings from the Fifties and Sixties, and which falls decidedly in the middle of the expanding roster of Messiahs.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2011 Bret D. Wheadon
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