RECORDINGS

LABEL: BIS
CATALOG NUMBER: BIS-CD-891/92
UPC NUMBER: 7318598918922
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 140:00
YEAR RECORDED: 1996
CD RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 18, 1997
CONDUCTOR: MASAAKI SUZUKI
ORCHESTRA: BACH COLLEGIUM JAPAN
CHOIR: BACH COLLEGIUM JAPAN
SOPRANO: MIDORI SUZUKI
CONTRALTO: YOSHIKAZU MERA
TENOR: JOHN ELWES
BASS: DAVID THOMAS


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES


DISC ONE

1. And without controversy
2. Symphony
3. Comfort ye my people
4. Ev'ry valley shall be exalted
5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
6. Thus saith the Lord
7. But who may abide the day of His coming
8. And he shall purify the sons of Levi
9. Behold, a virgin shall conceive
10. O Thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
11. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth
12. The people that walked in darkness
13. For unto us a child is born
14. Pifa
15. There were shepherds abiding
16. And lo, the angel of the Lord
17. And the angel said unto them
18. And suddenly there was with the angel
19. Glory to God in the highest
20. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion
21. Then shall the eyes of the blind be open'd
22. He shall feed His flock
23. His yoke is easy, His burthen is light
24. Behold the Lamb of God
25. He was depised and rejected of men
DISC TWO

1. Surely, He hath borne our griefs
2. And with His stripes we are healed
3. All we like sheep have gone astray
4. All they that see Him laugh
5. He trusted in God that He would deliver Him
6. Thy rebuke hath broken His heart
7. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow
8. He was cut off out of the land
9. But didst not leave His soul in Hell
10. Lift up your heads, O ye gates
11. Unto which of the angels said He    
12. Let all the angelsof God worship him
13. Thou art gone up on high
14. How beautiful are the feet of Him
15. Their sound is gone out
16. Why do the nations so furiously rage together
17. Let us break their bonds asunder
18. He that dwelleth in heaven    
19. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron
20. Hallelujah!
21. I know that my Redeemer liveth
22. Since by man came death
23. The trumpet shall sound
24. Then shall be brought to pass
25. O Death, where is thy sting
26. But thanks be to God
27. If God be forever
28. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain

SITE RATING:  9/10
SITE REVIEW:  I know when I first saw the listing for the Suzuki Messiah, I was wondering if this recording would have a particular Japanese flavor to it. (Kabuki Messiah, anyone?)  But, alas, such was not the case.  This is a singularly Western performance, with the Bach Collegium Japan giving one of the most polished, professional Messiah's ever caught on disc.  The one idiosyncracy, a spoken introduction of the Majora Canamus (by British tenor John Elwes) sets the stage for this evergreen Christian work.  The Bach Collegium Japan plays period instruments, and with considerable flair, while director Maasaki Suzuki has a fine command of both Baroque style and an unerring sense of good tempi.  This is one of the few Messiahs I have heard that has everything "just right" in terms of balance between quick and moderate speed.  Of the soloists, I was amazed by counter-tenor Yoshikazu Mera, (listed on the credits as an alto); his tone and command of line is astonishing - he truly has some gorgeous moments, especially on "But Who May Abide The Day Of His Coming".  He also is given over to more ornamentation than other recordings I've heard, but he's so good at it, that's it's a pleasure to hear.  John Elwes is a fine tenor, although I found him paling against the other soloists.  Soprano Midori Suzuki is also glorious, with crystal-clear intonation and pure delivery;  Everything here is finely styled, and easily stands alongside the greatest of Messiah recordings.  The only reason it doesn't rate my highest recommendation is the sense that it has more style than substance - it feels very careful - the results are indeed spectacular, but it has an air of studied excellence.  Still, an essential addition to any Messiah collection.


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