RECORDINGS

LABEL: NOBLE CREEK PRODUCTION SERVICES, INC.
CATALOG NUMBER: N/A
UPC NUMBER: N/A
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 74:05; 61:34
DATE RECORDED: MAY 18, 1996
CD RELEASE DATE: 1996
CONDUCTOR: JAMES F. WEAVER
ORCHESTRA: THE SACRED MUSIC PROJECT BAROQUE ENSEMBLE
CHOIR: THE WILLIAMSBURG PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH CHANCEL CHOIR
SOPRANO: GEORGEANN PADDOCK
MEZZO SOPRANO: ORY BROWN
TENOR: DAREN BASNIGHT
BASS: FRANK WARD


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES

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DISC ONE

1. Sinfonia
2. Recit (tenor) - Comfort ye my people
3. Air (tenor) - Every valley shall be exalted
4. Chorus And the glory of the Lord
5. Recit (Bass) - Thus saith the Lord
6. Air (Soprano) But who may abide
7. Chorus - And He shall purify
8. Recit (Alto) - Behold a virgin shall conceive
9. Air & Chorus (Alto) - O thou that tellest good tidings
10 Recit (Bass) - For behold darkness shall cover the earth
11. Recit (Bass) - The people that walked in darkness
12. Chorus - For unto us a child is born
13. Pifa
14. Recit (Soprano) - There were shepherds / And suddenly
15. Recit (Soprano) - And the angel said unto them
16. Recit (Soprano) - And suddenly there was with the angels
17. Chorus - Glory to God
18. Air (Soprano) - Rejoice greatly
19. Recit (Alto) - Then shall the eyes of the blind
20. Air (Soprano) - He shall feed his flock
21. Chorus - His yoke is easy
22. Chorus - Behold the lamb of God
23. Air (Alto) - He was despised
24. Chorus - Surely he hath borne our griefs
25. Chorus - And with his stripes
26. Chorus - All we like sheep
DISC TWO

1. Air (Tenor) All they that see him
2. Chorus - He trusted in God
3. Recit (Tenor) - Thy rebuke hath broken his heart
4. Air (Tenor) - Behold and see
5. Recit (Soprano) - He was cut off
6. Air (Soprano) - But thou didst not leave his soul in hell
7. Chorus - Lift up your heads
8. Recit (Tenor) - Unto which of the angels
9. Chorus - Let all the angels of God
10. Air (Soprano - Thou art gone up on high
11. Chorus - The Lord gave the word
12. Air (Alto) - How beautiful are the feet
13. Chorus - Their sound is gone out
14. Air (Bass) - Why do the nations
15. Chorus - Let us break their bonds
16. Recit (Tenor) - He that dwelleth in heaven
17. Air (Tenor) - Thou shalt break them
18. Chorus - Halleluiah
19. Air (Soprano) - I know that my redeemer liveth
20. Chorus - Since by man came death
21. Recit (Bass) - Behold I tell you a mystery
22. Air (Bass) - The trumpet shall sound
23. Recit (Alto) - Then shall be brought to pass
24. Duet (Alto & Tenor) - O death, where is thy sting?
25. Chorus - But thanks be to God
     Air (Alto) If God be for us (omitted from this recording}
26. Chorus - Worthy is the lamb

SITE RATING:  6/10
SITE REVIEW:  James F. Weaver, of the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church (not to be confused with the previously-reviewed James Weaver Smithsonian recording), conducted this live performance of Messiah in 1996, and it was preserved on this surprisingly good double-disc set, which, although it suffers faults from it's single session and the live setting, is a very fine performance from this amateur group, with soloists, chorus, and orchestral playing and singing with a conviction and polish that they can be proud of.

Tenor Daren Basnight has a fine, commanding tone, albeit accompanied by a fluttery vibrato, which suits the arias very well.  Bass Frank Ward is excellent - with a bright, engaging timbre and searing melismas that he masters with panache.  Unfortunately, he sounds buried in the mix, with none of the immediate presence his performance demands.  Soprano Georgeann Paddock is bright and flute-like, with a very pleasant timbre and easiness to her arias.  And mezzo-soprano Ory Brown is similarly excellent, with a darker tone which superbly compliments Ms. Paddock's brighter moments.

The Choir sounds solid and confident - unfortunately they suffer from uneven mic'ing, which thrusts some parts to the back of the mix, while other parts (and voices) pop out - overall it's a muddy choral mix, which is one of the biggest faults of the recording.

The Sacred Music Project Baroque Ensemble plays on period instruments, and although proficient, intonation and various faults creep into the performance regularly, again, mostly the fault of having a single, live performance to work from.  Weaver's direction can best be described as solid; the tempi are square and competent, but his lines rarely sing - still, there are several effective dynamic moments, and this recording is worth seeking out for collectors of rare Messiahs.



The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
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