RECORDINGS

LABEL: VOX
CATALOG NUMBER: VOX2 7502
UPC NUMBER: 047163750229
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 70:18, 67:29
YEAR RECORDED: 1994
CD RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 17, 1995
CONDUCTOR: VALENTIN RADU
ORCHESTRA: AMA DEUS ENSEMBLE ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: AMA DEUS ENSEMBLE CHOIR
SOPRANO: JULIANNE BAIRD
MEZZO-SOPRANO: JENNIFER LANE
TENOR: DAVID PRICE
BASS-BARITONE: KEVIN DEAS


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES


DISC ONE

1. Overture: 'Sinfonia'
2. Tenor Recitative: 'Comfort Ye'
3. Tenor Air: 'Every Valley'
4. Chorus: 'And The Glory'
5. Bass Recitative: 'Thus Saith'
6. Alto Air: 'But Who May Abide'
7. Chorus: 'And He Shall Purify'
8. Alto Recitative: 'Behold A Virgin'
9. Alto/Chorus: 'O Thou That Tellest'
10. Bass Recitative: 'For Behold'
11. Bass Air: 'The People That Walked'
12. Chorus: 'For Unto Us A Child'
13. Pastoral Symphony
14. Soprano Recitative: 'There Were'
15. Chorus: 'Glory To God'
16. Soprano Air: 'Rejoice Greatly'
17. Alto Recitative: 'Then Shall'
18. Alto/Soprano Duo: 'He Shall Feed'
19. Chorus: 'His Yoke Is Easy'
20. Chorus: 'Behold The Lamb'
21. Alto Air: 'He Was Despised'
22. Chorus: 'Surely He Hath Borne'
23. Chorus: 'And With His Stripes'
DISC TWO

24. Chorus: 'All We Like Sheep'
25. Tenor Recitative: 'All They'
26. Chorus: 'He Trusted In God'
27. Tenor Recitative: 'Thy Rebuke'
28. Tenor Air: 'Behold And See'
29. Soprano Recitative: 'He Was Cut'
30. Soprano Air: 'But Thou Didst Not'
31. Chorus: 'Lift Up Your Heads'
32. Tenor Recitative: 'Unto Which'
33. Chorus: 'Let All The Angels'
34. Alto Air: 'Thou Art Gone Up'
35. Chorus: 'The Lord Gave The Word'
36. Soprano Air: 'How Beautiful'
37. Chorus: 'Their Sound'
38. Bass Air: 'Why Do The Nations'
39. Chorus: 'Let Us Break Their Bonds'
40. Tenor Recitative: 'He That Dwelleth'
41. Tenor Air: 'Thou Shalt Break Them'
42. Chorus: 'Hallelujah'
43. Soprano Air: 'I Know'
44. Chorus: 'Since By Man Came Death'
45. Bass Recitative: 'Behold, I Tell You'
46. Bass Air: 'The Trumpet Shall Sound'
47. Alto Recitative: 'Then Shall Be'
48. Alto/Tenor/Chorus: 'O Death'
49. Soprano Air: 'If God Be For Us'
50. Chorus: 'Worthy Is The Lamb'


SITE RATING:  7/10
SITE REVIEW:  A bold, brash Messiah by Valentin Radu and the forces of the Ama Deus Ensemble, and proclaiming itself a performance of the 1749 London Covent Garden concert, this recording has what sounds like a huge chip on its shoulder, with violently aggressive soloists, tempos, and attacks that left me a little bit breathless, and a little nonplussed, as well.  Radu's interpretation of Messiah will certainly be cause for discussion among Handellians, with his idiosyncratic approach, which either takes the Baroque tradition to its emotional extreme, or in another light, dismisses it entirely in favor of an entirely new direction.  Under Radu's direction, Messiah is performed with a Beethovian fury; tenor David Price holds nothing back in his sharp, biting entrance, and bass Kevin Deas seems ready to meet him head-on with his aggressive, hard-bitten attack.  The Ama Deus Choir takes the choruses and delivers sharp dynamics and odd breaks in the line, which emphasizes certain words in ways that have never been attempted before.  After the opening salvo, it's a small relief when Jennifer Lane begins the relatively quiet "But Who May Abide" - but it's a short rest - Radu launches her into a blistering second chorus.  Everything is performed with a clenched-teeth attitude that's fascinating to listen to, but ultimately proves to be entirely the wrong approach to Messiah; Radu's recording is more akin to Dante's Inferno than the promise of salvation.  I cannot fault the playing or singing, although several times I believed David Price was merely showing off his (impressive) vocal prowess rather than serving the text.  A defiantly stubborn, brutish take, which will certainly appeal to a certain segment of listeners.


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