RECORDINGS

LABEL: VANGUARD CLASSICS
CATALOG NUMBER: ART 1969
UPC NUMBER: 699675196929
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 2:31:29
YEAR RECORDED: 1970
CD RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 22, 2006
CONDUCTOR: JOHANNES SOMARY
ORCHESTRA: ENGLISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: AMOR ARTIS CHORALE
SOPRANO: MARGARET PRICE
MEZZO-SOPRANO: YVONNE MINTON
TENOR: ALEXANDER YOUNG
BASS: JUSTINO DIAZ


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES


7 IPS
                              Quadraphonic, 4-Channel Copyright 1972 by
                              Vanguard VSS-16


DISC ONE

1. Part I: Sinfonia: Grave - Allegro moderato 03:07
2. Part I: Accompanied Recitative: Comfort Ye, Comfort Ye my People 03:48
3. Part I: Air: Every Valley Shall be Exalted (Tenor) 03:56
4. Part I: Chorus: And the Glory of the Lord Shall be Revealed 02:37
5. Part I: Accompanied Recitative: Thus Saith the Lord of Hosts (Bass) 01:29
6. Part I: Air: But who may Abide the Day of his Coming (Alto) 04:37
7. Part I: Chorus: And he Shall Purify the Sons of Levi 02:52
8. Part I: Recitative: Behold, a Virgin Shall Conceive (Alto) 00:30
9. Part I: Air: O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings to Zion (Alto and Chorus) 06:14
10. Part I: Accompanied Recitative: For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth (Bass) 01:38
11. Part I: Air: The People that Walked in Darkness (Bass) 04:25
12. Part I: Chorus: For unto us a Child is Born 04:12
13. Part I: Pifa: Pastoral Symphony 03:41
14. Part I: Accompanied Recitative: There were Shepherds Abiding in the Field (Soprano) 00:47
15. Part I: Recitative: And the Angel said unto them (Soprano) 00:37
16. Part I: Recitative: And suddenly there was the angel (Soprano) 00:20
17. Part I: Chorus: Glory to God in the highest 01:40
18. Part I: Air: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (Alto) 05:03
19. Part I: Recitative: Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind be Opened (Alto) 00:33
20. Part I: Air: He Shall Feed his Flock (Alto, Soprano) 05:45
21. Part I: Chorus: His Yoke is Easy 02:46
22. Part II: Chorus: Behold the Lamb of God 03:00
23. Part II: Air: He was Despised and Rejected of Men (Alto) 10:54

DISC TWO

1. Part II: Chorus: Surely he Hath Borne our Griefs 03:14
2. Part II: Chorus: And with his Stripes we are Healed 01:39
3. Part II: Chorus: All we like Sheep have Gone Astray 03:30
4. Part II: Accompagnato: All they that see him (Tenor) 00:45
5. Part II: Chorus: He Trusted In God 02:02
6. Part II: Accompanied Recitative: Thy Rebuke Hath Broken his Heart (Tenor) 01:53
7. Part II: Arioso: Behold, and see (Tenor) 01:45
8. Part II: Accompanied Recitative: He was Cut off out of the Land of the Living 00:23
9. Part II: Air: But Thou Didst not Leave his Soul in Hell (Tenor) 02:38
10. Part II: Chorus: Lift up your Heads 03:13
11. Part II: Recitative: Unto which of the Angels said he at Any Time (Tenor) 00:19
12. Part II: Chorus: Let all the Angels of God Worship him 01:17
13. Part II: Air: Thou art Gone up on High (Alto) 03:19
14. Part II: Chorus: The Lord Gave the Word 01:07
15. Part II: Air: How Beautiful are the Feet of them (Soprano) 03:00
16. Part II: Chorus: Their Sound is Gone out into all Lands 01:14
17. Part II: Air: Why do the Nations so Furiously Rage Together (Bass) 02:58
18. Part II: Chorus: Let us Break their Bonds Asunder 01:51
19. Part II: Recitative: He that Dwelleth in Heaven (Tenor) 00:16
20. Part II: Air: Thou Shalt Break them with a Rod of Iron (Tenor) 02:15
21. Part II: Chorus: Hallelujah 03:36
22. Part III: Air: I Know that my Redeemer Liveth (Soprano) 07:17
23. Part III: Chorus: Since by Man came Death 01:58
24. Part III: Recitative - secco: Behold, I Tell you a Mystery (Bass) 00:42
25. Part III: Air: The Trumpet Shall Sound (Bass) 08:44
26. Part III: Recitative - secco: Then Shall be Brought to Pass (Alto) 00:19
27. Part III: Duet: O Death, Where is Thy Sting? (Alto, Tenor) 01:10
28. Part III: Chorus: But Thanks be to God 02:24
29. Part III: Air: If God is for us (Soprano) 05:29
31. Part III: Chorus: Worthy is the Lamb / Amen 06:41


SITE RATING:  6/10
SITE REVIEW:  Johannes Somary's 1970 Messiah is generally considered a good overall recording from this period, with Somary choosing brisk tempos, emphatic attacks, and smaller forces for this recording, but suffering from an odd rigidity in both the soloists and his square, almost Germanic conducting that prevents this recording from feeling at ease with itself.  Among the soloists, Yvonne Minton has the most pleasing tone, with tenor Alexander Young a bit thin in his upper register, and bass Justino Diaz a distinct liability with his swallowed tone.  Soprano Margaret Price is clear, but a touch shrill in her higher tessitura as well.  It's harder to judge the English Chamber Orchestra and the Amor Artis Chorale, since they are quite obviously under the stern baton of  Somary, making their playing very rigid and square.  They're precise, well balanced, and unified, but it's hard to shake the impression that they're playing under a whip-hand, with Somary allowing little grace to enter into what sounds like a rather judgmental reading of Messiah.  I'll throw this recording into the middle of the stack - it's not a bad recording or performance, just not terribly warm, and lacking any feeling of easiness or pleasure in the making.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2016 Bret D. Wheadon
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