RECORDINGS

LABEL: CHESKY RECORDS
CATALOG NUMBER: 106
UPC NUMBER: 09036801062
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 151:23
YEAR RECORDED: 1965
CD RELEASE DATE: JUNE 23, 1994
CONDUCTOR: SIR MALCOLM SARGENT
ORCHESTRA: ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: ROYAL CHORAL SOCIETY
SOPRANO: ELIZABETH HARWOOD
CONTRALTO: NORMA PROCTER
TENOR: ALEXANDER YOUNG
BASS-BARITONE: JOHN SHIRLEY-QUIRK


AUDIO SAMPLES OTHER RELEASES

Readers
                              Digest CD R50005

DISC ONE

1. Overture
2. Recit - "Comfort Ye"
3. Air - "Every Valley"
4. Chorus - "And The Glory of the Lord Shall be Revealed"
5. Recit - "Thus Saith The Lord"
6. Air - "But Who May Abide the Day of His Coiming"
7. Chorus - "And He Shall Purify"
8. Recit - "Behold! A Virgin Shall Conceive"
9. Air - "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion"
10. Recit - "For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover The Earth"
11. Air - "The People That Walked In Darkness"
12. Chorus - "For Unto Us A Child Is Born"
13. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)
14. Recit - "There Were Shepherds Abiding In The Field"    
15. Recit - "And Low The Angel"    
16. Recit - :And The Angel Said Unto Them"    
17. Recit - "For Unto You"    
18. Recit - "And Suddenly There Was With The Angel"    
19. Chorus - "Glory To God"
20. Air - "Rejoice Greatly O Daughter Of Zion"
21. Recit - "Then Shall The Eyes Of The Blind Be Open'd"
22. Air - "He Shall Feed His Flock Like A Shepherd"
23. Chorus - "His Yoke Is Easy"
24. Chorus - "Behold The Lamb of God"
DISC TWO

1. Air - "He Was Despised"
2. Chorus - "Surely He Haith Borne Our Griefs"
3. Chorus - "All We, Like Sheep Have Gone Astray"
4. Recit - "All That They See Him to Scorn"
5. Chorus - "He Trusted In God That He Would Deliver Him"
6. Recit - "Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart"
7. Air - "Behold And See If There be Any Sorrow"
8. Recit - "He Was Cut Off Out Of The Of The Living"    
9. Air - "But Thou Didst Not Leave His Soul in Hell"
10. Chorus - "Who Is The King Of Glory"
11. Chorus - "The Lord Gave The Word"
12. Air - "How Beautiful Are The Feet Of Them"
13. Chorus - "Their Sound Is Gone Out Into All Lands"
14. Air - "Why Do The Nations So Furiously Rage"
15. Recit - "He that Dwelleth in Heaven"    
16. Air - "Thou Shalt Break Them"
17. Chorus - "Hallelujah!"
18. Air - "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth"
19. Chorus - "Since By Man Came Death"
20. Recit - "Behold, I Tell You A Mystery"
21. Air - "The Trumpet Shall Sound"
22. Chorus - "Worthy Is The Lamb"
23. Chorus - "Amen"

SITE RATING:  3/10
SITE REVIEW:  Listening to past recordings of Messiah can be illuminating.  In this, Sir Malcom Sargent's final of three he recorded over his long and illustrious career, all of the largess and heaviness which had permeated Handel's oratorio over the centuries is on its full display, and to its worst effect.  Sargent was seventy years old in 1965 when this was recorded; he would die two years later, and in many ways this Messiah sounds more like a dirge than many others.  Lumbering, with huge forces giving the only semblance of grandeur, Sargent's tempi are positively glacial; the soloists sound mired in tar, with thick, throaty tessituras; and the orchestra and choir, buried beneath their sheer numbers, are completely lost within the smothering echo which permeates the entire recording - all the fine detail is lost, leaving nothing but a thick sludge for the listener to try and discern the text.  It seems to be sheer luck when an instrument pops out of the mire - a flute (another remnant from post-baroque "improvements") rears it's chirpy head during "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion" - the only bright spot in the darkness.  I do enjoy John Shirley-Quirk's performance here - he is clearly in his prime, and sounds glorious, reveling in the long, languid lines which Sargent indulges in.  But most of the rest of the recording is so slow and soporific that its difficult to keep focused.  It simply drags on... and on...  Reader's Digest acquired the rights to this recording ages ago, and continues to repackage and reissue it under many guises.  Even if you prefer the grand, slow tradition, I think many listeners would find this Messiah weighs too heavily on the ear.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2016 Bret D. Wheadon
All Rights Reserved.