RECORDINGS

LABEL: DECCA
CATALOG NUMBER: 430 488 2
UPC NUMBER: 028943048828
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 136.52
YEAR RECORDED: 1980
CD RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 10, 1991
CONDUCTOR: CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD
ORCHESTRA: THE ACADEMY OF ANCIENT MUSIC
CHOIR: CHOIR OF CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL, OXFORD
SOPRANO 1: JUDITH NELSON
SOPRANO 2: EMMA KIRKBY
CONTRALTO CAROLYN WATKINSON
TENOR: PAUL ELLIOTT
BASS: DAVID THOMAS


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES

ETERNA/TELDEC 3 LP
                                boxed set, 1984, ED1 827734-736, blue
                                label, stereo German pressing

DISC ONE

1. Part 1 - Symphony The Academy of Ancient Music 2:57
2. Part 1 - 1. Accompagnato: Comfort ye, My people - 2. Air: Ev'ry Valley shall be exalted 6:36
3. Part 1 - Chorus: And the glory of the Lord 2:51
4. Part 1 - Accompagnata: Thus saith the Lord... Aria: But who may abide... 5:31
5. Part 1 - Chorus: And He shall purify the sons of Levi 2:43
6. Part 1 - 7. Recit: Behold, a Virgin shall conceive 8. Aria:O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion 9. Coro 6:15
7. Part 1 - 10. Accompagnato: For behold, darkness shall cover the earth 11. Aria: The people that walked in darkness 5:36
8. Part 1 - Chorus: "For unto us a Child is born" 4:15
9. Part 1 - Pifa (Pastoral Symphony) 0:52
10. Part 1 - Recit: There were shepherds...Chorus: Glory to God 3:21
11. Part 1 - Air: Rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion Judith Nelson 4:09
12. Part 1 - Then shall the eyes of the blind....He shall feed his flock 5:03
13. Part 1 - 19. Chorus: His yoke is easy 2:38
14. Part 2 - Chorus: Behold the Lamb of God 2:22
15. Part 2 - Air: He was despised 10:20

DISC TWO

1. Part 2 - Chorus: Surely he hath borne...Chorus: And with his 3:57
2. Part 2 - Chorus: All we like sheep have gone astray 4:07
3. Part 2 - Recit: All they that see him...Chorus: He trusted in God 3:00
4. Part 2 - Recit: Thy rebuke...Air: Behold...Recit: He was cut.. 3:38
5. Part 2 - Aria: But thou didst not leave his soul in hell 2:22
6. Part 2 - Chorus: Lift up your heads 3:15
7. Part 2 - Recitativo: Unto which of the angels - Chorus: Let all the Angels 1:44
8. Part 2 - Air: "Thou art gone up on high" 2:55
9. Part 2 - Chorus: The Lord gave the word 1:13
10. Part 2 - Air: How beautiful are the feet 2:05
11. Part 2 - Chorus: Their sound is gone out 1:21
12. Part 2 - Why do the nations...Let us break their bonds asunder 3:15
13. Part 2 - Recitativo: He that dwelleth...Air: Thou shalt break them 2:11
14. Part 2 - Chorus: "Hallelujah" 3:49
15. Part 3 - Air: I know that my Redeemer liveth 5:35
16. Part 3 - Chorus: Since by man came death 2:03
17. Part 3 - Behold, I tell you......The Trumpet shall sound 9:00   
18. Part 3 - Then shall be brought to pass...O Death, .... 1:24
19. Part 3 - Chorus: But thanks be to God 2:17
20. Part 3 - Air: If God be for us 4:22
21. Part 3 - Worthy is the Lamb... Blessing and honour 3:45
22. Part 3 - Amen 3:37


SITE RATING:  8/10
SITE REVIEW:  It's not often that you can claim that your Messiah changed the course of history, but Christopher Hogwood's fresh, retro re-evaluation of Handel's venerable oratorio turned more than a few heads.  Using period-appropriate instruments, a small, intimate chorus, and brisk tempos that hadn't been attempted for decades, Hogwood's interpretation created a tidal wave of revisionism which hasn't yet begun to ebb.  The period-instrument rage has many detractors, and just as many champions, but listening now, Hogwood's revisionist breakthrough sounds tame, and with an emotional detachment that leaves the listener a little cool towards the final result.  There's no denying the startling purity of the music; Emma Kirkby in particular was a revelation with her icy celestial soprano; Carolyn Watkinson gives an authoritative declarative stance to the alto; tenor Paul Elliott is a standout, imparting a crystalline serenity to his arias; David Thomas is a firm, unshakeable bass; and the Academy of Ancient Music plays with precision and clarity; while the boys and men of the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford created an other-worldly sound with their use of boy trebles. Combined with the shrill, keening quality of the period instruments, this Messiah sounded like no other that had come before it, and audiences were able to hear what they considered a dusty, community choir warhorse with fresh appreciation.  The only arguable deficit is the extreme clipped marcattos which the director uses all too liberally; on first hearing, it certainly captures the ear, but upon further listening, sounds egregious and affected.  It's a startling contrast to, say, the Beecham or Ormandy discs.  All of these revolutionary aspects have since been duplicated numerous times since this set was first released - sometimes, it must be said, with greater results; but nothing will ever be able to strip the distinction from this Messiah of being the first. ~ BDW


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