I'm rather disappointed with the sound quality of this CD. I really like the small scale of the performance, and it is beautifully played and sung. However, the sound is so vague, distant and lacking in clarity that I feel I'm miles away from what is going on. With a small-scale version like this, I want to be right in amongst the players, but they sound too far away. There isn't enough impact or presence to the music.
The music also has an unnatural feel to it, as if it has been over-processed on a computer. The result is that the diction of all the singers, both choir and soloists, is poor. Other reviewers have criticised Jon Tomlinson, the bass, but of all the singers on this recording, the sound quality does him the least favours.
I found I was constantly turning up the volume just to hear what was going on. I found my attention wandering, and the work dragging. Listening with headphones did not improve the experience either.
So overall, a very reasonable price from Amazon, but rather disappointing. I'm puzzled as to why this recording has received such enthusiastic reviews on Amazon, and in the Penguin Classics guide. I am fairly new to Messiah, and I can now see why so many of its followers are on a ceaseless quest to find the one version they really like. I reckon I have now joined them.