RECORDINGS

LABEL: CARLTON CLASSICS
CATALOG NUMBER: 6700337
UPC NUMBER: 723722521423
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 149:23
YEAR RECORDED: 1994
CD RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 15, 1996
CONDUCTOR: OWAIN ARWEL HUGHES
ORCHESTRA: ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: ROYAL CHORAL SOCIETY
SOPRANO: YVONNE KENNY
CONTRALTO: JEAN RIGBY
TENOR: THOMAS RANDLE
BASS: WILLARD WHITE


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES

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DISC ONE

1 Part 1. No. 1. Sinfonia (Overture)     04:53
2 Part 1. No. 2. Recitative. Comfort ye my people     03:18
3 Part 1. No. 3. Air. Ev'ry valley shall be exalted     03:31
4 Part 1. No. 4. Chorus. And the glory of the Lord     02:59
5 Part 1. No. 5. Recitative. Thus saith the Lord     01:37
6 Part 1. No. 6. Air. But who may abide the day of his coming?     04:50
7 Part 1. No. 7. Chorus. And he shall purify     02:25
8 Part 1. No. 8. Recitative. Behold, a virgin shall conceive     00:27
9 Part 1. No. 9. Air & Chorus. O thou that tellest     05:27
10 Part 1. No. 10. Recitative. For behold, darkness     02:34
11 Part 1. No. 11. Air. The people that walked in darkness     03:38
12 Part 1. No. 12. Chorus. For unto us a child is born     03:56
13 Part 1. No. 13. Pifa. Pastoral Symphony     03:54
14 Part 1. No. 14a. Recitative. There were shepherds     00:17
15 Part 1. No. 14b. Recitative. And lo, the angel     00:29
16 Part 1. No. 15. Recitative. And the angel said unto them     00:45
17 Part 1. No. 16. Recitative. And suddenly there was with the angel     00:20
18 Part 1. No. 17. Chorus. Glory to God     02:03
19 Part 1. No. 18. Air. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion     04:29
20 Part 1. No. 19. Recitative. Then shall the eyes of the blind     00:28
21 Part 1. No. 20. Air. And he shall feed his flock     05:56
22 Part 1. No. 21. Chorus. His yoke is easy and his burden is light     02:20
23 Part 2. No. 22. Chorus. Behold the Lamb of God     04:14
24 Part 2. No. 23. Air. He was despised and rejected     11:43

DISC TWO

1 Part 2. No. 24. Chorus. Surely he hath borne our griefs     02:28
2 Part 2. No. 25. Chorus. And with his stripes we are healed     01:43
3 Part 2. No. 26. Chorus. All we like sheep have gone astray     04:00
4 Part 2. No. 27. Recitative. All they that see him     00:49
5 Part 2. No. 28. Chorus. He trusted in God     02:05
6 Part 2. No. 29. Recitative. Thy rebuke hath broken his heart     01:57
7 Part 2. No. 30. Air. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow     01:30
8 Part 2. No. 31. Recitative. He was cut off out of the land     00:26
9 Part 2. No. 32. Air. But thou didst not leave his soul     02:17
10 Part 2. No. 33. Chorus. Lift up your heads O ye gates     03:13
11 Part 2. No. 34. Recitative. Unto which of the angels     00:20
12 Part 2. No. 35. Chorus. Let all the angels     01:32
13 Part 2. No. 36. Air. Thou art gone up on high     03:18
14 Part 2. No. 37. Chorus. The Lord gave the word     01:14
15 Part 2. No. 38. Air. How beautiful are the feet     02:28
16 Part 2. No. 39. Chorus. Their sound is gone out     01:37
17 Part 2. No. 40. Air. Why do the nations?     03:00
18 Part 2. No. 41. Chorus. Let us break their bonds asunder     01:48
19 Part 2. No. 42. Recitative. He that dwelleth in heaven     00:19
20 Part 2. No. 43. Air. Thou shalt break them     02:09
21 Part 2. No. 44. Chorus. Hallelujah     04:07
22 Part 3. No. 45. Air. I know that my redeemer liveth     06:52
23 Part 3. No. 46. Chorus. Since by man came death     02:12
24 Part 3. No. 47. Recitative. Behold I tell you a mystery     00:41
25 Part 3. No. 48. Air. The trumpet shall sound     03:56
26 Part 3. No. 49. Recitative. Then shall be brought to pass     00:22
27 Part 3. No. 50. Duet. O death where is thy sting / No. 51. Chorus. But thanks be to God     03:26
28 Part 3. No. 52. Air. If God be for us     05:24
29 Part 3. Worthy is the lamb that was slain     03:37
30 Part 3. No. 53. Amen     04:00


SITE RATING:  3/10
SITE REVIEW:  This 1994 recording, led by Owain Arwell Hughes and with a stable of forces which span the operatic and classical stage, is competent, but I expected far more from this group of artists.  I was frankly surprised by the slow, deliberate tempo chosen for the opening Sinfonia, which hearkened back to heavy tempos from the 1950s and earlier - not the prevailing tempo, thankfully, but the set is hampered by a heavy-handed style throughout, giving even the swifter tempi a gravity and weight that drags down the performance. The opening aria by tenor Thomas Randle further tempered my expectation; Randle sings with ill-judged harshness - giving a strident tone to what should be joyous proclamations.  The opposite can be stated of bass Williard White, who sounds past him prime here, slurring his melismas, and revealing a timbre that, once lustrous, now sounds tired and somewhat thin.  Alto Jean Rigby has a nice, full tone and somewhat thick vibrato, (a trait shared by all of the soloists), and doesn't connect with the material, giving a showy, but uninspired reading.  Soprano Yvonne Kenny is similarly dry - reveling in her lustrous vocal, but conspicuously lacking in deep feeling.  The performances of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Choral Society are the most hampered by the conducting of Hughes - with the Choir over-singing nearly everything, and the orchestra reduced to leaden downbeats and tempi that stubbornly refuse to dance.  In my first review of this album, I was unnecessarily harsh, and having heard other, much poorer examples in the time since then, this one has risen in my estimation, but not terribly high; it is an uninspired reading, with heavy conducting, rote singing, and a dry sonic atmosphere that leaves this recording near the bottom of the pack.


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