RECORDINGS

LABEL: RCA RED SEAL HP
CATALOG NUMBER: 63317
UPC NUMBER: 090266331727
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 149:20
YEAR RECORDED: 1981
CD RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 10, 1999
CONDUCTOR: RICHARD WESTENBURG
ORCHESTRA: MUSICA SACRA
CHOIR: MUSICA SACRA
SOPRANO: JUDITH BLEGEN
ALTO: KATHERINE CIESINSKI
TENOR: JOHN ALER
BASS: JOHN CHEEK


AUDIO SAMPLES HIGHLIGHTS OTHER RELEASES

DISC ONE

1  Overture     03:19
2  Recit: Comfort ye, comfort ye my people (Tenor)     03:01
3  Air: Eveery valley shall be exalted (Tenor)     03:25
4  Chorus: And the glory of the Lord     02:43
5  Recit: Thus saith the Lord of hosts (Bass)     01:29
6  Air: But who may abide the day of His coming? (Bass)     04:58
7  Chorus: And He shall purify     02:22
8  Recit: Behold, a virgin shall conceive (Alto)     00:
9  Air & Chorus: O thou that tellest good tidings (Alto)     05:12
10  Recit: For behold, daarkness shall cover the earth (Bass)     02:42
11  Air: The people that walked in the darkness (Bass)     04:21
12  Chorus: For unto us a child is born     03:54
13  Pifa (Pastoral Symphont)     02:58
14  Recit: There were shepherds abiding (Soprano)     00:40
15  Recit: And the angel said unto them (Sopraon)     00:52
16  Recit: And suddenly there was wwith the angel (Soprano)     00:
17  Chorus: Glory to God in the highest     01:57
18  Air: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (Soprano)     04:41
19  Recit: Then shall the eyes of the blind (Alto)     00:33
20  Air: He shall feed His flock; Come unto Him (Alto & Soprano)     05:09
21  Chorus: His yoke is easy     02:25
22  Chorus: Behold the Lamb of God     04:15
23  Air: He was depissed (Alto)     05:07
24  Chorus: Surely He hath borne our griefs     02:21
25  Chorus: And with His stripes we are healed     01:51
26  Chorus: All we like sheep have gone astray  04:57
DISC TWO

1 Recit: All they that see Him (Tenor)     00:49
2 Chorus: He trusted in God     02:09
3 Recit: Thy rebuke hath broken His heart (Tenor)     02:21
4 Air: Behold, and see if there be any sorrow (Tenor)     01:43
5 Recit: He was cut off out of the land of the living (Tenor)     00:
6 Air: But Thou didst not leave his soul in hell (Tenor)     02:21
7 Chorus: Lift up your heads, O ye gates     02:58
8 Recit: Unto which of the angels of God worship Him     00:
9 Chorus: Let all the angels of God worship Him     01:31
10 Air: Thou art gone up on high (Bass)     03:12
11 Chorus: The Lord gave the word     01:05
12 Air & Chorus: How beautiful the feet; Break forth (Alto & soprano)     04:28
13 Chorus; Their sound is gone out into all lands     01:39
14 Air: Why do the nation so furiously rage togeether (Bass)     03:00
15 Chorus: Let us breaak their bonds aasunder     01:56
16 Recit: He that dwelleth in Heaven (Tenor)     00:
17 Air: Thou shall break them with a rod of iron (Tenor)     02:02
18 Chorus: Hallelujah!     03:33
19 Air: I know that my Redeemer liveth (Soprano)     07:48
20 Chorus: Since by man came death     02:19
21 Recit: Behold, I tell you a mystery (Bass)     00:46
22 Air: The trumpet shall sound (Bass)     09:15
23 Recit: Then shall be brought to pass (Alto)     00:
24 Duet: O death, where is thy sting? (Alto & Tenor)     01:13
25 Chorus: But thanks be to God     02:48
26 Air: If God be for us (Soprano)     04:41
27 Chorus: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain/Amen     08:20

SITE RATING:  8/10
SITE REVIEW:  This excellent recording from 1981 features the professional New York-based group Musica Sacra, led by its founder and conductor, Richard Westenburg, who died in 2008.  Of Messiah, he said: "I can remember as a high school boy certain things that really moved me; many were through some of those passages [in 'Messiah'] of tragic poignancy, and tears would come to my eyes, because they spoke to me the truths of man's inhumanity; or I could think about passages of simple, unadorned, direct, honest joy, and I would know that Handel's overall plan for expressing reconciliation represented a triumph the striving for which was not futile ... it reminds me that the survival of worthwhile things can happen; and that Handel's 'Messiah' helped it happen in me." [1]  Westenburg was renowned for attempting to reconcile various schools of thought about how Messiah should be performed, and here is an early example of his efforts: modern instruments, with generally quick light tempi which benefits from the smaller forces employed.  Everything here is light and tasteful, (with the exception of the the male soloists, who seem to be singing for a larger hall than the others).  Still, for the price which is asked of it, this is an exceptional recording, and a recommended first choice; but it's fine enough on all counts to be included in any Messiah collection.   ~ BDW

[1] "Richard Westenburg, 76, Musical Director" Stephen Miller. 2008.  The New York Sun.  February 21, 2008 <http://www.nysun.com/obituaries/richard-westenburg-76-musical-director/71597/>


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
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