RECORDINGS

LABEL: HYPERION
CATALOG NUMBER: CDA67800
UPC NUMBER: 034571178004
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 133:30
YEAR RECORDED: DECEMBER, 2008
CD RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 10, 2009
CONDUCTOR: STEPHEN LAYTON
ORCHESTRA: BRITTEN SINFONIA
CHOIR: POLYPHONY
SOPRANO: JULIA DOYLE
COUNTERTENOR: IESTYN DAVIES
TENOR: ALLAN CLAYTON
BASS: ANDREW FOSTER-WILLIAMS


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DISC ONE

1. Part 1 No 01: Symphony  [3'23]
2. Part 1 No 02. Recitative: Comfort ye, my people (tenor)  [2'44]
Allan Clayton (tenor)
3. Part 1 No 03. Aria: Every valley shall be exalted (tenor)  [3'06]
Allan Clayton (tenor)
4. Part 1 No 04. Chorus: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed  [2'49]
5. Part 1 No 05. Recitative: Thus saith the Lord of hosts (bass)  [1'20]
Andrew Foster-Williams (bass)
6. Part 1 No 06. Aria: But who may abide the day of his coming? (alto)  [4'12]
Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
7. Part 1 No 07. Chorus: And he shall purify the sons of Levi  [2'35]
8. Part 1 No 08. Recitative: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son (alto)  [0'23]
Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
9. Part 1 No 09. Aria with chorus: O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion (alto)  [5'01]
Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
10. Part 1 No 10. Recitative: For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (bass)  [2'03]
Andrew Foster-Williams (bass)
11. Part 1 No 11. Aria: The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light (bass)  [3'58]
Andrew Foster-Williams (bass)
12. Part 1 No 12. Chorus: For unto us a child is born  [3'47]
13. Part 1 No 13: Pifa 'Pastoral Symphony'  [0'54]
14. Part 1 No 14. Recitative: There were shepherds, abiding in the field (soprano)  [0'26]
Julia Doyle (soprano)
15. Part 1 No 15. Recitative: And the angel said unto them, fear not (soprano)  [0'25]
Julia Doyle (soprano)
16. Part 1 No 16. Recitative: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude (soprano)  [0'16]
Julia Doyle (soprano)
17. Part 1 No 17. Chorus: Glory to God in the highest  [1'52]
18. Part 1 No 18. Aria: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (soprano)  [4'07]
Julia Doyle (soprano)
19. Part 1 No 19. Recitative: Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened (alto)  [0'23]
Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
20. Part 1 No 20. Aria: He shall feed his flock like a shepherd (alto/soprano)  [4'55]
Iestyn Davies (countertenor), Julia Doyle (soprano)
21. Part 1 No 21. Chorus: His yoke is easy and his burthen is light  [2'15]
22. Part 2 No 01. Chorus: Behold the Lamb of God  [2'42]
23. Part 2 No 02. Aria: He was despised and rejected of men (alto)  [10'36]
Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
DISC TWO

1. Part 2 No 03. Chorus: Surely he hath borne our griefs  [1'51]
2. Part 2 No 04. Chorus: And with his stripes we are healed  [1'52]
3. Part 2 No 05. Chorus: All we like sheep have gone astray  [4'02]
4. Part 2 No 06. Recitative: All they that see him laugh him to scorn (tenor)  [0'44]
Allan Clayton (tenor)
5. Part 2 No 07. Chorus: He trusted in God that he would deliver him  [2'14]
6. Part 2 No 08. Recitative: Thy rebuke hath broken his heart (tenor)  [1'53]
Allan Clayton (tenor)
7. Part 2 No 09. Aria: Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto his sorrow (tenor)  [1'19]
Allan Clayton (tenor)
8. Part 2 No 10. Recitative: He was cut off out of the land of the living (tenor)  [0'13]
Allan Clayton (tenor)
9. Part 2 No 11. Aria: But thou didst not leave his soul in hell (soprano/tenor)  [2'14]
Julia Doyle (soprano)
10. Part 2 No 12. Chorus: Lift up your heads, O ye gates  [3'03]
11. Part 2 No 13. Recitative: Unto which of the angels said he at any time? (tenor)  [0'13]
Allan Clayton (tenor)
12. Part 2 No 14. Chorus: Let all the angels of God worship him  [1'26]
13. Part 2 No 15. Aria: Thou art gone up on high (alto)  [3'02]
Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
14. Part 2 No 16. Chorus: The Lord gave the word  [0'57]
15. Part 2 No 17. Aria: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach (soprano)  [2'09]
Julia Doyle (soprano)
16. Part 2 No 18. Chorus: Their sound is gone out into all lands  [1'14]
17. Part 2 No 19. Aria: Why do the nations so furiously rage together? (bass)  [2'32]
Andrew Foster-Williams (bass)
18. Part 2 No 20. Chorus: Let us break their bonds asunder  [1'47]
19. Part 2 No 21. Recitative: He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn (tenor)  [0'10]
Allan Clayton (tenor)
20. Part 2 No 22. Aria: Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron (tenor)  [1'58]
Allan Clayton (tenor)
21. Part 2 No 23. Chorus: Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth  [3'43]
22. Part 3 No 01. Aria: I know that my Redeemer liveth (soprano)  [6'00]
Julia Doyle (soprano)
23. Part 3 No 02. Chorus: Since by man came death  [2'20]
24. Part 3 No 03. Recitative: Behold, I tell you a mystery (bass)  [0'29]
Andrew Foster-Williams (bass)
25. Part 3 No 04. Aria: The trumpet shall sound (bass)  [5'49]
Andrew Foster-Williams (bass)
26. Part 3 No 05. Recitative: Then shall be brought to pass (alto)  [0'15]
Iestyn Davies (countertenor)
27. Part 3 No 06. Aria: O Death, where is thy sting? (alto/tenor)  [1'05]
Iestyn Davies (countertenor), Allan Clayton (tenor)
28. Part 3 No 07. Chorus: But thanks be to God who giveth us the victory  [2'15]
29. Part 3 No 08. Aria: If God be for us, who can be against us? (soprano)  [4'54]
Julia Doyle (soprano)
30. Part 3 No 09. Chorus: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain  [3'20]

31. Part 3 No 10. Chorus: Amen  [4'15]


SITE RATING:  10/10
SITE REVIEW:  Period performance enthusiasts will find much to love about this recording by Stephen Layton, with bravura performances and emotional investment from all involved.  I found myself listening anew to Messiah as fresh, electrifying tempos and emphasis were displayed on every track.  I admit, although I enjoy most performances of Messiah, regardless of performing style, I find myself most engaged by the new period instrumentation and quicker tempos, and Hyperion's stunning recording brings to life all of the passion, drama, and action (yes, action) of Messiah.  What sets this set apart from most others is the heightened sense of drama that the performers bring the table - Handel originally set his oratorio as a theatrical piece, yet few performers have invested it with theatrical style, but Stephen Layton shatters all conventions with this recording.  "Thou Shalt Break Them" is delivered with a biting sting by tenor Allyn Clayton, while the choruses are sung with joy and passion by Polyphony.  I have never heard such emotion brought to Messiah before, and the credit must be equally shared by all - Iestyn Davies is a revelation, singing with perfect control and beauty, Julia Doye is a cool, serene presence, and Andrew Foster-Williams sings with emotional depth, and the playing, by Britten Sinfonia is striking - lovely long lines in places, and sharp accents in others.  This recording has jumped to the top of my Messiah playlist, and I doubt that it will be replaced for many years to come.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2012 Bret D. Wheadon
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