RECORDINGS

LABEL: PHILIPSTOWN
CATALOG NUMBER: UNKNOWN
UPC NUMBER: UNKNOWN
NUMBER OF DISCS: 1
RUNNING TIME: 1:18:07
YEAR RECORDED: 2013
CD RELEASE DATE: JULY 24, 2014
CONDUCTOR: GORDON STEWART
ORCHESTRA: PHILIPSTOWN PHILHARMONIA
CHOIR: PHILIPSTOWN PHILHARMONIA CHORUS
SOPRANO: GABREILA MIKOVA JOHNSON
ALTO: NICHOLAS TAMANGNA
TENOR: STEVEN BRENNFLECK
BASS: DASHON BURTON


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES


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DISC ONE

1. Symphony    Philipstown Philharmonia & Gordon Stewart    3:04
2. Accompagniato Comfort Ye My People (Tenor)    Philipstown Philharmonia, Gordon Stewart & Steven Brennfleck    3:26
3. Air Ev'ry Valley Shall Be Exalted (Tenor)    Philipstown Philharmonia, Steven Brennfleck & Gordon Stewart    3:12
4. Chorus and the Glory of the Lord    Philipstown Philharmonia, Steven Brennfleck & Gordon Stewart    2:54
5. Accompagniato Thus Saith the Lord, The Lord of Hosts (Bass)    Philipstown Philharmonia, Dashon Burton & Gordon Stewart    1:29
6. Air but Who May Abide the Day of His Coming (Bass)    Philipstown Philharmonia, Dashon Burton & Gordon Stewart    4:06
7. Chorus and He Shall Purify    Philipstown Philharmonia & Gordon Stewart    2:23
8. Recitative Behold, A Virgin Shall Conceive (Alto), Air and Chorus O Thou That Tellest [Alto]    Philipstown Philharmonia, Nicholas Tamangna & Gordon Stewart    5:10
9. Accompagniato for Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth (Bass)    Philipstown Philharmonia, Dashon Burton & Gordon Stewart    2:35   
10. Chorus for Unto Us    Philipstown Philharmonia & Gordon Stewart    3:50
11. 11. Pastorale, Recitative There Were Shepherds Abiding in the Fields (Soprano), Accompagniato and Lo, The Angel of the Lord, Recitative and the Angel Said Unto Them (Soprano)    Philipstown Philharmonia, Gabriela Mikova Johnson & Gordon Stewart    3:58
12. Accompagniato and Suddenly There Was With the Angel (Soprano), Chorus Glory to God in the Highest    Philipstown Philharmonia, Gabriela Mikova Johnson & Gordon Stewart    2:16
13. Air Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Sion (Soprano)    Philipstown Philharmonia, Gabriela Mikova Johnson & Gordon Stewart    4:34   
14. TRecitative Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind Be Opened (Alto), Duet He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd [Alto, Soprano]    Philipstown Philharmonia, Gordon Stewart & Gabriela Mikova Johnson    5:50
15. Chorus His Yoke Is Easy    Philipstown Philharmonia & Gordon Stewart    2:08
16. Air He Was Despised (Alto)    Philipstown Philharmonia, Gordon Stewart & Nicholas Tamangna    9:54
17. Chorus Surely, He Hath Borne Our Griefs and Carried Our Sorrows    Philipstown Philharmonia & Gordon Stewart    1:44
18. Chorus and With His Stripes We Are Healed    Philipstown Philharmonia & Gordon Stewart    3:02
19. Chorus Their Sound Has Gone Out Into All Lands    Philipstown Philharmonia & Gordon Stewart    1:26
20. Air Why Do the Nations so Furiously Rage Together (Bass)    Philipstown Philharmonia, Gordon Stewart & Dashon Burton    2:47
21. Chorus Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder    Philipstown Philharmonia, Gordon Stewart & Dashon Burton    1:43
22. Recitative He That Dwelleth in Heaven (Tenor), Air Thou Shall Break Them With a Rod of Iron (Tenor)    Philipstown Philharmonia, Gordon Stewart & Steven Brennfleck    2:09
23. Chorus Hallelujah    Philipstown Philharmonia & Gordon Stewart    4:27

SITE RATING:  6/10
SITE REVIEW:  A Philipstown Messiah is an abridged single-disc live performance given by the Philipstown Philharmonia & Chorus, briskly conducted by Gordon Stewart, and independently released by the Philipstown organization.  As a local release originating from an admittedly small and cloistered community of 10,000, I wasn't expecting much.  And while this highlights disc certainly won't jump to the top of anyone's top Messiah's, it's a vigorously-performed, polished performance that would make any community proud, hampered only by the obvious drawbacks of a captured live performance, with every blot and blemish on display. 

The Philipstown Philharmonia and chorus are energetic, precise, and highly practiced, with only disunity in sound and the occasional outright missed note bringing the collective performance down.  Also, conductor Gordon Stewart (former speech-writer for President Jimmy Carter and astringent liberal activist) has an odd tendency to bring momentum to a screeching halt with determined rubatos at the end of certain movements, as if to state: This.  Is.  The.  End.

Amongst the soloists, bass Dashon Burton is powerful, but a bit chesty in his tone; tenor Steven Brennfleck possesses a tone brittle and lacking warmth, but full of showy technique.  Contralto Nicholas Tamangna is conversely warm and genial, boasting a cheerful tessitura, and soprano Gabriela Mikova Johnson boasts a fluttery, glass-like tone with chilly expertise.

Overall, I was more impressed with the rigid technique on display than by any semblance of heart-felt devotion (Nicholas Tamangna's tender performance excepted).



The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2014 Bret D. Wheadon
All Rights Reserved.