RECORDINGS

LABEL: VOCHOR
CATALOG NUMBER: VCDMCD1002
UPC NUMBER: N/A
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: 1:09:48; 1:13:48
YEAR RECORDED: 1999
CD RELEASE DATE: 1999
CONDUCTOR: RODNEY WYNKOOP
ORCHESTRA: DUKE UNIVERSITY ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: DUKE UNIVERSITY CHAPEL CHOIR
SOPRANO: PENELOPE JENSEN
MEZZO SOPRANO: JAN WILSON
TENOR: KARL DENT
BARITONE: GRANT YOUNGBLOOD


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DISC ONE

PART I
1. SYMPHONY [3:30]
2. RECITATIVE (tenor Comfort ye my people [3:03]
3. AIR (tenor) Every valley shall be exalted [3:23]
4. CHORUS And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed [2:47]
5. RECITATIVE (baritone) Thus saith the Lord of Hosrs [1 :30]
6. AIR (baritone) But who may abide the day of his coming [3:37]
7. CHORUS And he shall purify the sons of Levi [2:21]
8. RECITATIVE (mezzo soprano) Behold, a virgin shall conceive [0:34]
9. AIR (mezzo soprano) and CHORUS O thou that tellesr good tidings to Zion [5:02]
10. RECITATIVE (baritone) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth [2:16]
11. AIR (baritone) The people that walked in darkness [3:20]
12. CHORUS For unto us a child is born [3:54]
13. PIFA (pastoral symphony) [3:38]
14. RECITATIVE (soprano) There were shepherds abiding in the field [1:55]
15. CHORUS Glory to God in the highest [1:55]
16. AIR (soprano) Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion [4:57]
17. RECITATIVE (mezzo soprano) Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened [0:36]
18. AIR (mezzo soprano and soprano) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd [5:44]
19. CHORUS His yoke is easy [2:29]

PART II
20. CHORUS Behold the Lamb of God [3:28]
21. AIR (mezzo soprano) He was despised and rejected of men [9:49]

DISC TWO

1. CHORUS Surely he hath borne our griefs [1:48]
2. CHORUS And with his stripes we are healed [1:40]
3. CHORUS All we, like sheep, have gone astray [4:15]
4 RECITATIVE (tenor) All they that see him laugh him to scorn [0:44]
5. CHORUS I-Ie trusted in God that he would deliver him [2:26]
6. RECITATIVE (tenor) Thy rebuke hath broken his heart [1 :50]
7. AIR (tenor) Behold, and see [1:43]
8 RECITATIVE (tenor) He was cut off out of the land of the living [0:19]
9. AIR (tenor) But thou didst not leave his soul in hell [2:07]
10. CHORUS Lift up your heads [2:56]
1l. RECITATIVE (tenor) Unto which of the angels said he at any time [0:17]
12. CHORUS Let all the angels of God worship him [1:22]
13. AIR (soprano) Thou art gone up on high [3:14]
14. CHORUS The Lord gave the word [1 :00]
15. AIR (soprano) How beautiful are the feet [2:36]
16. CHORUS Their sound is gone out into all lands [1:21]
17. AIR (baritone) Why do the nations so furiously rage [2:46]
18. CHORUS Let us break their bonds asunder [1:49]
19. RECITATIVE (tenor) He that dwellerh in heaven [0:16]
20. AIR (tenor) Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron [1 :59]
21. CHORUS Hallelujah [3:39]

PART III
22 AIR (soprano) I know that my Redeemer liveth [6:44]
23. CHORUS Since by man came death [2:24]
24. RECITATIVE (baritone) Behold, I tell you a mystery [0:40]
25. AIR (baritone) The trumpet shall sound [8:34]
26. RECITATIVE (mezzo soprano) Then shall be brought to pass [0:25]
27. DUET (mezzo soprano & tenor)
86 CHORUS O death, where is thy sting? [3:12]
28. AIR (soprano) If God be For us [4:51]
29. CHORUS Worthy is the Lamb that was slain [6:51]


SITE RATING:  7/10
SITE REVIEW:  This 1999 digital recording, made from a series of live performances by Duke University, under the baton of Rodney Wynkoop, is one of the finest non-professional Messiah's I've heard.  Crisp sonics, finely finessed playing and singing, and soloists who are more than serviceable, all blend to create a very pleasant listening experience.  And although I try to draw the line at private Messiah releases (especially community choirs, public schools, and church releases), I enjoy seeking out these rare recordings for gems such as this one.  The Duke University Chapel Choir (who, as of this writing is still under the direction of Dr. Wynkoop) sound quite smooth and unified for an 150-voice chorus, with clear diction, and precise attacks - they struggle occasionally with unified melismas and pure tone in the sopranos, but these are minor infractions, they shine on many of the choruses, with especially thrilling readings of "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" and "Glory To God".  The soloists are all quite fine - with special mention going to baritone Grant Youngblood, with his rich tessitura and commanding presence; tenor Karl Dent is also quite forceful, leaning toward the operatic, (true of all the soloists), and lacking a sense of tenderness during some of the arias.  Mezzo soprano Jan Wilson is the weak link here, with a more pushed sound and occasional unsteadiness in pitch. Soprano Penelope Jensen also didn't quite convince me with her performance, sounding somewhat thin and strained in her upper register, but otherwise pitch perfect on "Rejoice Greatly" and other softer moments.  The Duke University Chapel Orchestra are very strong, with lovely tone, and assured, rich playing throughout. Wynkoop's direction is very sure, not entirely in the New Baroque tradition, but reveling in the richer moments, and giving needed propulsion to other moments.  Expertly recorded and mixed, this Messiah sounds clean and polished, and stands as one of the best collegiate Messiah's.  Worth seeking out for collectors.


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