RECORDINGS

LABEL: ALM RECORDS
CATALOG NUMBER: ALCD-1051-1052
UPC NUMBER: UNKNOWN
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 78:23; 78:47
YEAR RECORDED: 2002
CD RELEASE DATE: 2003
CONDUCTOR: GENZOH TAKEHISA
ORCHESTRA: CONVERSUM MUSICUM
CHOIR: KOKUBUNJI CHAMBER CHOIR
SOPRANO: MATSUDO KUMI MEGUMI; KITAGAKI JUNKO; NAGURA AYAKO
ALTO: AOKI YO也
TENOR: KAZUTAKA NOMURA; OIKAWA RICH
BASS: KOZAKAI TAKAO; JULIAN RIPPON; KASUGA HO JIN

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DISC ONE

1. Sinfonia 03:53
2. Recitative: Comfort ye my people (Tenor) 03:23
3. Aria: Ev'ry valley shall be exalted (Tenor) 04:14
4. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed (Chorus) 02:46
5. Accompanied Recitative: Thus saith the Lord (Bass) 01:35
6. Aria: But who may abide the day of His coming (Bass) 04:45
7. And He shall purify (Chorus) 02:32
8. Behold, a virgin shall conceive (Alto) 00:29
9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion (Alto) 06:09
10. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (Bass) 01:49
11. Aria: The people that walked in darkness (Bass) 05:22
12. For unto us a child is born (Chorus) 04:29
13. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony) 02:59
14. Recitative: There were shepards (Tenor) 00:18
15. And lo, the Angel of the Lord (Soprano) 00:19
16. And the angel said unto them (Tenor) 00:38
17. Recitative: And suddenly there was with the angel (Soprano) 00:15
18. Glory to God in the highest (Chorus) 01:53
19. Aria: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (Soprano) 06:12
20. Recitative: Then shall the eyes of the blind be open'd (Soprano) 00:31
21. Aria: He shall feed His flock like a shepherd (Soprano) 05:22
22. His yoke is easy, his burthen is light (Chorus) 02:20
23. Behold, the Lamb of God (Chorus) 03:23
24. Aria: He was despised (Alto) 12:33
DISC TWO

1. Surely, He hath borne our griefs (Chorus) 02:05
2. And with His stripes we are healed (Chorus) 01:52
3. All we like sheep have gone astray (Chorus) 04:27
4. Recitative: All they that see Him Laugh Him to scorn (Alto) 00:43
5. He trusted in God (Chorus) 02:15
6. Accompanied Recitative: Thy rebuke hath broken His heart (Soprano) 01:34
7. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow (Soprano) 01:55
8. Recitative: He was cut off out of the land of the living (Tenor) 00:20
9. Aria: But thou didst not leave His soul in hell (Tenor) 03:10
10. Lift up your heads, O ye gates (Chorus) 03:34
11. Unto which of the Angels (Tenor) 00:18
12. Let all the angels of God worship Him (Chorus) 01:23
13. Thou art gone up on high (Bass) 03:07
14. The Lord gave the word (Chorus) 01:12
15. Duet: How beautiful are the feet (2 Tenors) 05:17
16. Their sound is gone out into all lands (Tenor) 01:40
17. Aria: Why do the nations so furiously rage together (Bass) 02:48
18. Let us Break their Bonds Asunder (Chorus) 01:31
19. Recitative: He that Dwelleth in Heaven (Tenor) 00:16
20. Air: Thou shalt Break them with a Rod of Iron (Tenor) 02:03
21. Hallelujah (Chorus) 03:54
22. Aria: I know that my redeemer liveth (Soprano) 07:06
23. Since by man came death (Chorus)            00:02:22
24. Recitative: Behold, I tell you a mystery (Bass) 00:34
25. Aria: The trumpet shall sound (Bass) 04:45
26. Then shall be brought to pass the saying (Alto) 00:20
27. Duet: O death, where is thy sting (Alto, Tenor) 01:10
28. But thanks be to God (Chorus) 02:31
29. Aria: If God be for us (Alto) 06:17
30. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain Amen (Chorus) 08:10

SITE RATING:  9/10
SITE REVIEW:   An extremely strong entry in the small pool of Japanese-produced Messiahs which I've been able to discover, this 2002 effort by Genzoh Tokehisa conducting the Conversum Musicum and Kokubunji Chamber Choir is full of muscular accents and sure-handed direction, making this an almost evenly-matched toss-up between this recording and the Masaaki Suzuki Messiah from 1996.  Utilizing a multiplicity of soloists, it's hard for me to determine exactly who is singing what (the liner notes are all in Japanese), but they are uniformly excellent, exhibiting mastery over the strict melismas and fiery readings which the oratorio demands.  The playing is highly delineated and measured - it gives me the impression of forces holding themselves back - resulting in a remarkable tension which keeps everything vibrant and on edge.  The Kokobunji Chamber Choir is also remarkably unified and supple, perfectly at ease with the demands of the piece, sounding just as committed and unified as their orchestral counterparts in the Conversum Musicum.  director Genzoh Tokehisa conducts everything with a sure, deliberate hand, occasionally tipping into reigning things in a little too tightly - but again, there's the sense that he's controlling a piece of music which could at any moment leap out of his grasp.   With such small chamber forces to work with, the more powerful moments are muted, as on a somewhat subdued "Hallelujah", but when everyone does let go - it's stunning.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2013 Bret D. Wheadon
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