RECORDINGS

LABEL: NAXOS
CATALOG NUMBER: 8.570131-32
UPC NUMBER: 747313013173
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 2:22:19
YEAR RECORDED: 2006
CD RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 31, 2006
CONDUCTOR: EDWARD HIGGINBOTTOM
ORCHESTRA: ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC
CHOIR: CHOIR OF NEW COLLEGE, OXFORD
TREBLES: HENRY JENKINSON, OTTA JONES, ROBERT BROOKS
COUNTERTENOR: IESTYN DAVIES
TENOR: TOBY SPENCE
BASS: EAMONN DOUGAN


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES

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DISC ONE

1. Sinfonia
2. Accompanied recitative. Comfort ye, my people
3. Aria. Every valley shall be exalted
4. Chorus. And the glory of the Lord
5. Accompanied recitative. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts
6. Aria. But who may abide the day of His coming
7. Chorus. And He shall purify
8. Recitative. Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son    
9. Aria and Chorus. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
10. Accompanied recitative. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth
11. Aria. The people that walked in darkness
12. Chorus. For unto us a Child is born
13. Pifa
14. Accompanied recitative. There were shepherds abiding in the field
15. Chorus. Glory to God in the highest
16. Aria. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion
17. Recitative. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened    
18. Aria. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd
19. Chorus. His yoke is easy, His burthen is light
20. Chorus. Behold, the Lamb of God
21. Aria. He was despised and rejected of men

DISC TWO

1. Chorus. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows
2. Chorus. And with His stripes we are healed
3. Chorus. All we like sheep have gone astray
4. Accompanied recitative. All they that see Him, laugh Him to scorn
5. Chorus. He trusted in God that He would deliver Him
6. Accompanied recitative. Thy rebuke hath broken His heart
7. Aria. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow
8. Accompanied recitative. He was cut off out of the land of the living    
9. Aria. But thou didst not leave His soul in hell
10. Chorus. Lift up your heads, O ye gates
11. Recitative. Unto which of the angels said He at any time    
12. Chorus. Let all the angels of God worship Him
13. Aria. Thou art gone up on high
14. Chorus. The Lord gave the word
15. Aria. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace
16. Chorus. Their sound is gone out into all lands
17. Aria. Why do the nations so furiously rage together
18. Recitative. He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn    
19. Aria. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron
20. Chorus. Hallelujah
21. Aria. I know that my redeemer liveth
22. Chorus. Since by man came death
23. Accompanied recitative. Behold, I tell you a mystery
24. Aria. The trumpet shall sound
25. Recitative. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written    
26. Duet. O death, where is thy sting
27. Aria. If God is for us, who can be against us
28. Chorus. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
29. Chorus. Amen


SITE RATING:  9/10
SITE REVIEW:  The raison d'Ítre for this recording of Handel's Messiah is ostensibly to recreate a specific series of historic performances, namely, Handel's 1751 London concerts in which he used boy trebles not only for the choruses, but for the arias as well.  It certainly creates a different listening experience for Messiah, but the real reason to seek out this particular recording is the mastery of the all-around performance.  The Choir of New College, Oxford, is a premiere boy choir, and their conductor, Edward Higginbottom expertly navigates the many perils of the oratorio to create one of the most pleasing, unique recordings of Messiah in the repertoire.  Of course, it helps if you're a fan of the treble sound, which imparts a childish piping sound into the choruses, a curious youthfulness into what most people regard as a serious, mature, classical work.  To hear young boys singing Messiah with such expertness and beauty should be an eye opener for anyone inured to the common perception about modern youth.  The soloists here are fine - with special notice to Iestyn Davies, who again shows his mastery as one of the premiere countertenors of his generation; and Eamonn Dougan gives a very pleasing lightness and deftness to the bass solos, eschewing the throaty heaviness usually associated with this role.  The Academy of Ancient Music, on period instruments, is expert in interpreting Messiah under Higginbottom's sure hand.  A first recommendation. ~ BDW


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright © 2016 Bret D. Wheadon
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