RECORDINGS

LABEL: HARMONIA MUNDI
CATALOG NUMBER: 907050.52
UPC NUMBER: 093046705022
NUMBER OF DISCS: 3
RUNNING TIME: 74:30, 71:05, 44:37
YEAR RECORDED: 1991
CD RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 7, 1992
CONDUCTOR: NICHOLAS MCGEGAN
ORCHESTRA: PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: U.C. BERKELEY CHAMBER CHORUS
SOPRANO: LORRAINE HUNT, JANET WILLIAMS
MEZZO-SOPRANO: PATRICIA SPENCE
COUNTERTENOR: DREW MINTER
TENOR: JEFFREY THOMAS
BASS: WILLIAM PARKER


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES


DISC ONE

1. Sinfonia - Comfort ye - Every valley shall be exalted - And the glory of the Lord
2. Thus saith the Lord
3. But who may abide the day of His coming
4. And He shall purify the sons of Levi
5. Behold, a virgin shall concieve - O thous that tellest good tidings to Zion - O thou that t
6. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth - The people that walked in darkness
7. For unto us a child is born - Pifa (Pastoral Symphony) - There were shepherds abiding in th
8. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them    
9. And the angel said unto them - And suddenly there was with the angel - Glory to God
10. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion
11. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened    
12. He shall feed His flock
13. His yoke is easy
14. Thus saith the Lord
15. But who may abide the day of His coming (bass)
16. But who may abide the day of His coming (soprano)
17. But who may abide the day of His coming [Recitative] (bass)
18. But lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them
19. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion
20. He shall feed His flock

DISC TWO

1. Behold the lamb of God
2. He was despised and rejected of men
3. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; And with His stripes we are healee
4. Lift up your heads - Unto which of the angels said He at any time - Let all the angels of God
5. Thou art gone up on high
6. The Lord gave the word
7. How beautiful are the feet
8. Their sound is gone out into all lands
9. Why do the nations so furiously rage together
10. Let us break their bonds asunder
11. He that dwelleth in heaven - Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron
12. Hallelujah!
13. Thou art gone up on high (bass)
14. Thou art gone up on high (alto)
15. How beautiful are the feet... / Their sound is gone out...
16. How beautiful are the feet... / Break forth into joy
17. How beautiful are the feet...
18. Their sound is gone out...
19. He that dwelleth... / Thou shalt break them...

DISC THREE

1. I know that my Redeemer liveth
2. Since by man came death
3. Behold, I tell you a mystery
4. The trumpet shall sound
5. Then shall be brought to pass    
6. O Death, where is thy sting?
7. But thanks be to God
8. If God be for us
9. Worthy is the Lamb
10. Amen
11. Addendum to Part III: O Death, where is thy sting?
12. Addendum to Part II: He was despised...

SITE RATING:  5/10
SITE REVIEW:  Nicholas McGegan set himself an interesting challenge for the creation of this one-of-a-kind recording: namely, to gather together all of the documented variations which Handel introduced into Messiah, and record them in such a way that you could program your CD player to create different versions of Messiah, based on the year and circumstances in which it was performed.  But while an admirable goal, it's presentation and execution both have flaws, which I suspect will be a stumbling block to many listeners.  The first problem is with the programming: whereas Thomas Beecham's early attempt at an addendum of this kind was to present the material at the end of the performance, McGegan and the producers decided to incorporate the differences into the running track list, so, you will have multiple versions of the same song following each other, or an alternate version popping up a few tracks later, if Handel happened to change the song order at some point.  So, unless the listener is willing to program their CD every time, you're going to hear the same song again and again in various degrees of differentiation.  The other problem is one of performance - the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and U.C. Berkeley Chamber Chorus perform admirably, if not with any special dispensation, but McGeegan apparently is from the school of thought that soloists ought to be given very free reign on the ornamentation they are allowed within their arias, and the result is a mess of over-performing, and needless distraction as they flutter and trill to excess.  None of the soloists impressed me, with countertenor Drew Minter especially grating with his indulgent forays and curious, quick vibrato.  While I am of the opinion that a project that gathers the different versions of Messiah together is worthwhile, this set is a huge disappointment.


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