For me, the Messiah never disppoints, neither the Person nor the music but some recordings do and this is one such. It was launched with a great fanfare, mostly about the singing of the Tenebrae Choir, or so it seemed to me, but I find it disappointing in important respects.
Mind you, there are very good things in this purchase. The sound is wonderful. I also very much enjoyed the accompanying DVD. It was great to see the action as well as hear it and the memory lingers of Colin Davis's obvious delight in conducting it. The LSO plays very well and combines with the choir to produce glorious sounds. The choir - small forces as compared with Sargent's day - fulfils all its claims and sings beautifully, bringing out the meaning of the words clearly in word and interpretation. I also found the male soloists very good.
However, the recording was spoiled for me by the female vocalists. Big reputations sometimes are diminished by performance and so it is here. I realise a review is a personal reflection, which makes me careful not to be harshly critical, and some think this recording is wonderful ( see other reviews here) but I think it will not have the staying power of Colin Davis's earlier recording, in spite of all the modern technical advances which produce exceptional sound here. I give it three stars as a good but unexceptional recording. Four would be too high, for it is not an 'almost great' one.