RECORDINGS

LABEL: DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON
CATALOG NUMBER: 453028
UPC NUMBER: 08945302829
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 2:37:41
YEAR RECORDED: 1972
CD RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 6, 2002
CONDUCTOR: KARL RICHTER
ORCHESTRA: LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: JOHN ALLDIS CHOIR
SOPRANO: HELEN DONATH
CONTRALTO: ANNA REYNOLDS
TENOR: STUART BURROWS
BASS: DONALD MCINTYRE


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DISC ONE

1. Symphony (Grave-Allegro Moderato)
2. Accompagnato (Tenor): Comfort Ye My People
3. Aria (Tenor): Ev'ry Valley Shall Be Exalted
4. Chorus: And The Glory Of The Lord Shall Be Revealed
5. Accompagnato (Bass): Thus Saith The Lord Of Hosts
6. Aria (Bass): But Who May Abide The Day Of His Coming
7. Chorus: And He Shall Purify
8. Recitative (Contralto): Behold, A Virgin Shall Conceive/Aria (Contralto): O Thou That Tellest Good
9. Chorus: O AThou That Tellest Good Tidings
10. Accompagnato (Bass): For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover
11. Aria (Bass): The People That Walked In Darkness
12. Chorus: For Unto Us A Child Is Born
13. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)
14. Recitative (Soprano): There Were Shepherds Abiding In The Fields
15. Chorus: Glory To God In The Highest
16. Aria (Soprano): Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter Of Zion
17. Recitative (Contralto): Then Shall The Eyes Of The Blind /Duet: (Contralto, Soprano): He Shall Feed
18. Chorus: His Yoke Is Easy, His Burthen Is Light
19. Chorus: Behold The Lamb Of God
20. Aria (Contralto): He Was Despised
21. Chorus: Surely, He Hath Borne Our Griefs
DISC TWO

1. Chorus: And With His Stripes We Are Healed
2. Chorus: All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray
3. Accompagnato (Tenor): All They That See Him
4. Chorus: He Trusted In God
5. Accompagnato (Tenor): Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart
6. Arioso (Tenor): Behold, And See If There Be Any Sorrow
7. Accompagnato (Tenor): He Was Cut Off Out Of The Land/ Aria (Tenor): But Thou Didst Not leave His So
8. Chorus: Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates
9. Recitative (Tenor): Unto Which Of The Angels/Chorus: Let All The Angels Of God Worship Him
10. Aria (Contralto): Thou Are Gone Up On High
11. Chorus: The Lord Gave The Word
12. Aria (Soprano): How Beautiful Are The Feet
13. Arioso (Tenor): Their Sound Is Gone Out
14. Aria (Bass): Why Do The Nations So Furiously Rage
15. Chorus: Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder
16. Recitative (Tenor): He That Dwelleth In Heaven/Aria (Tenor): Thou Shalt Break Them
17. Chorus: Hallelujah
18. Chorus: Since By Man Came Death
19. Accompagnato (Bass): Behold, I Tell You A Mystery/Aria (Bass): The Trumpet Shall Sound
20. Recitative (Contralto): Then Shall Be Brought To Pass/Duet (Contralto, Tenor): O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
21. Aria (Soprano): If God Be For Us
22. Chorus: Worthy Is The Lamb That Was Slain
23. Chorus: Amen

SITE RATING:  5/10
SITE REVIEW:  A lot of old school Messiah enthusiasts love this performance of Messiah, with it's heavy, square, Germanic Romanticism and grand tempos, but to my ears, Richter's interpretation misses the point.  The message of Messiah is all about the promise of deliverance from sin - a promised Savior who will come and save His people.  Even in such supposedly thick passages as "The People That Walked In Darkness" with its minor-key composition, is a song of redeeming joy - "they have seen a great light."  But in Richter's hands, Messiah becomes a Catholic-like Mass - all chest-thumping Dies Irae and little to celebrate.  I found the heaviness and dreariness of the tempos, as well as the similarly weightiness of the soloists, oppressive and dark.  This of course was still the "style" that Messiah was being performed in 1972, when this was recorded, so some allowances must be made, but to my ears, Richter's Messiah doesn't capture the grandness of Beecham's or the bright hope of Marriner's 1970s recording; it simply sounds old and dusty.  The choir and orchestra sound grand, occasionally lifting out of the gloom (with a sprightly "Glory To God") and special mention I'll give to Helen Donath, who is the (only) soloistic bright spot in an otherwise depressing Messiah.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
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