RECORDINGS

LABEL: OSJ ALIVE
CATALOG NUMBER: OSJCD04
UPC NUMBER: 5060373650023
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 1:57:26
DATE RECORDED: MARCH 5, 2016
CD RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 3, 2017
CONDUCTOR: JOHN LUBBOCK
ORCHESTRA: ORCHESTRA OF ST. JOHN'S
CHOIR: OSJ VOICES
SOPRANO: NARDUS WILLIAMS
COUNTER-TENOR: RODERICK MORRIS
TENOR: CHRISTOPHER TURNER
BARITONE: BOŽIDAR SMILJANIĆ


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES



NONE





DISC ONE

1. Pt. 1: No. 1, Sinfonia by Orchestra of St. John's Smith Square 3:16       
2. Pt. 1: No. 2, Comfort Ye My People - No. 3, Every Valley by Christopher Turner 6:19       
3. Pt. 1: No. 4, And the Glory of the Lord by OSJ Voices 2:29       
4. Pt. 1: No. 5, Thus Saith the Lord - No. 6, But Who May Abide? by Božidar Smiljanić 4:30       
5. Pt. 1: No. 7, And He Shall Purify the Sons of Levi by OSJ Voices 2:36       
6. Pt. 1: No. 8, Behold, a Virgin Shall Conceive - No. 9, O Thou That by Roderick Morris 5:33       
7. Pt. 1: No. 10, For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth by Božidar Smiljanić 2:10       
8. Pt. 1: No. 12, For unto Us a Child Is Born by OSJ Voices 3:56       
9. Pt. 1: No. 13, Pifa "Pastoral Symphony" by Orchestra of St. John's Smith Square 2:55       
10. Pt. 1: No. 14a, There Were Shepherds - No. 14b, And Lo, the Angel - No. 15, And the Angel Said - No. 16, And Suddenly by Nardus Williams 1:17       
11. Pt. 1: No. 17, Glory to God in the Highest by OSJ Voices 1:57       
12. Pt. 1: No. 18, Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion by Nardus Williams 4:16       
13. Pt. 1: No. 19, Then Shall the Eyes - No. 20, He Shall Feed His Flock by Roderick Morris 6:00

DISC TWO

1. Pt. 2: No. 22, Behold the Lamb of God by OSJ Voices 3:02       
2. Pt. 2: No. 23, He Was Despised and Rejected of Men by Roderick Morris 6:35       
3. Pt. 2: No. 24, Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs by OSJ Voices 1:42       
4. Pt. 2: No. 25, And with His Stripes We Are Healed by OSJ Voices 2:10       
5. Pt. 2: No. 26, All We like Sheep Have Gone Astray by OSJ Voices 3:48       
6. Pt. 2: No. 27, All They That See Him - No. 28, He Trusted in God by Christopher Turner 2:48       
7. Pt. 2: No. 29, Thy Rebuke Hath Broken - No. 30, Behold, and See by Christopher Turner 3:01       
8. Pt. 2: No. 31, He Was Cut Off - No. 32, But Thou Didst Not by Christopher Turner 2:39       
9. Pt. 2: No. 33, Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates by OSJ Voices 3:02       
10. Pt. 2: No. 37, The Lord Gave the Word by OSJ Voices 1:08       
11. Pt. 2: No. 38, How Beautiful Are the Feet by Nardus Williams 2:43       
12. Pt. 2: No. 40, Why Do the Nations? - No. 41, Let Us Break Their Bonds by Božidar Smiljanić 4:47       
13. Pt. 2: No. 42, He That Dwelleth in Heaven - No. 43, Thou Shalt Break by Christopher Turner 2:07       
14. Pt. 2: No. 44, Hallelujah by OSJ Voices 3:47       
15. Pt. 3: No. 45, I Know That My Redeemer Liveth by Nardus Williams 6:50       
16. Pt. 3: No. 46, Since by Man Came Death by OSJ Voices 2:15       
17. Pt. 3: No. 47, Behold, I Tell You - No. 48, The Trumpet Shall Sound by Božidar Smiljanić 4:49       
18. Pt. 3: No. 52, If God Be for Us, Who Can Be Against Us by Nardus Williams 5:28       
19. Pt. 3: No. 53, Worthy Is the Lamb - Amen by OSJ Voices 7:31


SITE RATING:  6/10
SITE REVIEW:  A unique Messiah in the canon; director John Lubbock has re-orchestrated the oratorio for winds, much like Dr. Denis Wright's arrangement of Messiah for brass with the Black Dyke Band, this recording is unique in its flavor.  The winds-only orchestration gives the work a delicate, pastoral flavor, which, while not as dramatic as Wright's, is very pretty and worth hearing.  The performance varies however; first the good: the Orchestra of St. John's carries the day with the new orchestration - their playing is light and cheerful, the flutes and woodwinds perfectly balanced and unified.  Tenor Christopher Turner is very good - heroic and brightly-toned.  The OSJ Voices are not as unified in sound - individual voices tear out of the fabric of sound, especially one startlingly bright tenor who appears to think he's the soloist.  But other issues, such as clashing vibratos are omnipresent.  Bass Božidar Smiljanić is heroically operatic in his role, with a razor-sharp tone.  I'm not a fan of counter-tenor Roderick Morris - he sounds all wrong here; fluttery and bucolic, with wide vowels and with an aged vibrato.  Soprano Nardus Williams suffers similar issues - a quavery vibrato, dark tone, and lack of emotional connection with the material.  The oratorio is severely cut - I would have enjoyed hearing the wind orchestrations applied to a full reading, but as it is, I still recommend it to collectors for it's uniqueness and finer points.  Additionally, there is an accompanying DVD, which may be ordered directly from the OSJ website.


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