Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Does One Rate THIS?
I am trying to play by the conventions and give this a 'rating' but my own rating means nothing to me when it comes to this extraordinary Messiah. If, as I hope, I can be any kind of guide to other music lovers here, I suggest they focus on the TYPE of performance this is, as best I can give an impression of it, and sort out their own rating from that. It's in a class of...
Published on 4 Aug 2002 by DAVID BRYSON

versus
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is the version of Messiah on which I "cut my teeth" as a teenager
and for a long time I couldn't understand why it sounded like the work of a Victorian composer trying to imitate a Baroque one, whereas most recordings from the same era of Bach oratorios (however boring they sound to me now) at least sounded as though they belonged to their period. The LP version of Beecham's Messiah was sumptuously presented (I still have it) and the...
Published on 7 Aug 2008 by Laraine A. Barker


Most Helpful First | Newest First

65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Does One Rate THIS?, 4 Aug 2002
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
I am trying to play by the conventions and give this a 'rating' but my own rating means nothing to me when it comes to this extraordinary Messiah. If, as I hope, I can be any kind of guide to other music lovers here, I suggest they focus on the TYPE of performance this is, as best I can give an impression of it, and sort out their own rating from that. It's in a class of its own and no mistake.
Presumably nobody expects 'authentic' Handel from Beecham. He uses the Goossens orchestation, but he also uses a small chorus. He is not in for speed records in general, and some numbers, e.g. For Unto Us, His Yoke is Easy, seem almost unfamiliar in this post-Hogwood era. What gives the latter chorus its characteristic sound is the skip in the rhythm on the word 'easy', and that is true from Beecham as well as the new school, only it's a completely different effect. Beecham's very slow tempi in the Pastoral Symphony and He Was Despised are romantic and anachronistic beyond argument (I suppose). Where Beecham does go at full lick is in the first half of All We Like Sheep, and there I imagine he is coming to the rescue of the music which is well below the inspirational level of its context, even its own second half.
Another oddity is that the men, both soloists and chorus, are far better than the women. As far as the chorus goes, the contrast is almost painful at the start of For Unto Us and His Yoke. Most chorus masters I have heard of are desperate for tenors. The tenors here are superb, so what happened to the women, and why did the tyrannical Beecham tolerate the situation?
The female soloists are better, but completely outclassed by Vickers and Tozzi. Tozzi is thrilling, colossal, as the Handelian prophet who is like a refiner's fire. Vickers gets to set the scene when Handel placidly kicks off with what is, to me, the greatest thing that ever called itself a recitative, and I cannot hear his 'and her iniquity is pardoned' without tears coming to my eyes however often I listen.
Some of Sir Thomas's less favourite numbers are ignominiously consigned to an appendix -- he gives his reasons for this, whatever you think of them, in his rather arch introductory essay. Trying to get my thoughts about the whole thing together, I found that one overwhelming impression remains with me -- I never felt from any performance as I do from this that nothing in the whole of music quite equals the typhoon of inspiration that blows through the first section of Messiah, up to and culminating in For Unto Us. Beecham's Messiah suffers in places, I do not try to deny, from lack of historical correctness. Other Messiahs suffer from the much more serious drawback that they are not conducted by Beecham.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive Messiah; RPO conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham, 15 Dec 2000
By 
Colin P. Davy "incipits" (TULSA, OK USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
This unique three-disc set comes with excellent notes and includes an essay by Sir Thomas. The work was digitally re-mastered to produce excellent tonal balance throughout and incredible full frequency sound from the original 1959 recording. Some slight noise is experienced on the very best of modern reproductive equipment, but this does not seriously detract from the performance which ought to to be in every serious collectors possession. Orchestration is by Sir Eugene Goosens, while Sir Thomas admits to some modernisation of the instrumental parts. The soloists are excellent and I especially enjoyed the singing of Monica Sinclair, Mezzo-Soprano though I feel it is unfair to select just one. The third disc in this set contains an appendix of several pieces that over the years have been omitted from Messiah which makes this the definitive and unique album for this work. I am especially pleased to have bought it for myself some years ago and also to have discovered an old edition of Sir Thomas' autobiography, recently republished, entitled "A mingled chime" which complements my collection. This is not for playing only at Christmas.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Messiah to enjoy, 8 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
Not the most historically authentic Messiah, but surely the version that is the most enjoyable to listen to. The choral singing is outstanding. Beecham's obvious love of the work brings out the best in all concerned. If you have only one performance of The Messiah, this should be it. Then you can consider versions which might possibly have a more historically accurate orchestral sound. But this is a choral masterpiece, the chorus is the thing, and Beecham's is the best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Authenticists, stay away!, 3 April 2008
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
While I am not by any means an original instrument/performance purist, even I find myself balking at the leisurely swagger of so many of the tempi adopted here (although Sir Thomas scampers through "For we, like sheep" as if he cannot wait to be rid of the embarrassment of it) and the rather disconcerting woodwind twiddles, flutey noodlings, lush horns and timpani bashings with which the Goossens orchestration (or was it more the work of Beecham himself?) graces us - yet I will readily admit that I really enjoy this rendering of Handel's inexhaustible masterpiece, done con amore as only Beecham could do it. The slow tempi certainly allow a clear articulation and a grandeur of utterance which are not unbecoming to such theologically elevated music.

The soloists are very fine, especially the men; Vickers obviously has a heroic tenor very different from the rather hooty, throaty tenorino so often wheeled out these days for this music (I mention no British tenors whose weedy sound is so inexplicably prized...) and he articulates the recitative with real depth of feeling. Tozzi, likewise, is a tower of strength - you can just luxuriate in the smooth treacle of that bass. The women are stalwarts of that era; fine artists both.

It's not the only "Messiah" you will want to hear; there is room for a less reverential, more animated and generally more lightly sprung interpretation but in many ways it brings you closer to the emotional heart of this music than many an underpowered, chilly and spare "original instruments" version. (Actually, Beecham's orchestra and choir are not that big compared with the Victorian blockbuster style which preceded it; it's just the ponderous tempi and extra orchestration which create an impression of additional weight.)

So buy this - it's very reasonably priced and beautifully recorded for its 1959 provenance - and enjoy it for what it is: Beecham's tribute to a master composer.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FAMOUS RECORDING, 26 Feb 2013
By 
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
This recording of Handel's MESSIAH caused a sensation when it was first issued half a century ago, in spite of Sir Thomas adding extra brass here and there. It still does !
Just REVEL in his extras and flow with the sheer JOY of his PHENOMINAL performance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BEECHAM CLASSIC, 31 Mar 2009
By 
Klingsor Tristan (Suffolk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
Just how un-PC can you get? It would be hard to get much further out of line with period performance thinking than these CDs of Messiah. Re-orchestrations (by Eugene Goossens) supplement the Handelian orchestra with a full complement of horns, trombones, doubled woodwind (including piccolo), a full string section (including a well-upholstered double-bass section) and a batterie of percussion. The soloists are led by a heldentenor (one of the finest post-war heldentenors, in fact) in full flight. Tempi are often slow by today's standards. There is not a vocal decoration in sight. And the whole enterprise is led by a man who plundered his family's substantial wealth to further his conducting ambitions, even to the extent of founding two separate London orchestras.

But I adore it. That plunderer is a conjurer in the shape, of course, of Tommy Beecham. And the magic he weaves around a work he loved dearly should be heard by all lovers of great music and great music-making. It's interesting that Mozart's arrangement of Messiah should be politically acceptable today, but this sort of thing not. I would certainly argue that all the Goosens/Beecham re-orchestration here is just as true if not truer to the spirit of Handel as Mozart was. And the sounds they make are sometimes surprisingly delicate, often rich and luminous, frequently glorious and always enlivened and enlightened by Sir Thomas' conducting - even where speeds are significantly slower than we've become accustomed to.

As for the singers, they are a vintage 1959 set. Jon Vickers is the aforementioned heldentenor and he acquits himself with great distinction in a role apparently so far from his usual fach. OK, so there's none of the decoration and vocal gymnastics we've come to expect in Handel, but - particularly by the time we reach the sequence of `Thy rebuke hath broken his heart', `Behold and see', `He was cut off' and `But thou didst not leave' - he provides a typically intense and deeply moving performance. Jennifer Vyvyan, too, is a familiar voice from that period (especially as part of the Britten/Aldeburgh rep.) and brings her clarity and pearly brilliance to the Christmas sequence as well as a simplicity of utterance to match the great Isobel Baillie in `I know that my Redeemer liveth'. Monica Sinclair is another stalwart of the period: her contralto tone may seem a little heavy by modern standards, especially if compared to a counter-tenor, but a lifetime's experience in singing Messiah up and down the country meant she knew just how to get the most out of each of her numbers and is most affecting in `He was despised'. Giorgio Tozzi is a real bass and fits perfectly into this group. Choir and orchestra are Beecham's own Royal Philharmonic and a delight is guaranteed throughout for all but the most purist of Period Performance addicts. Of course I wouldn't want to be without the Hogwood or Parrott or Christophers performance. But I definitely wouldn't want to be without this one, too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Messiah, 19 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
Three CD edition of one of Handel's most famous works, the complete work under the baton of Sir Adrian Bolt. Excellent value and very rapid delivery.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Handel, 17 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
This is an old-style performance, more for the afficionado than the newbie. Just a delight. The product took quite q while to arrive, but it was worth waiting for.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is the version of Messiah on which I "cut my teeth" as a teenager, 7 Aug 2008
By 
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
and for a long time I couldn't understand why it sounded like the work of a Victorian composer trying to imitate a Baroque one, whereas most recordings from the same era of Bach oratorios (however boring they sound to me now) at least sounded as though they belonged to their period. The LP version of Beecham's Messiah was sumptuously presented (I still have it) and the singing and orchestral playing are, as you would expect from Beecham, of a very high quality, but quite frankly I never want to hear it again.

As a demonstration of the boring quality of Handel singing in the days of this recording, I used to know a young woman (born in Latvia) who had the same vocal range as Kathleen Ferrier, and she sang for me the aria He Was Despised. Naturally she sang it much as Ferrier did. She then told me that as far as she was concerned if you took away the words you landed up with nothing worthwhile. I was shocked that someone lucky enough to be able to sing Handel could feel this way. If she is still around (and she should be; she'd be in her sixties at most) I bet she has changed her mind. Since this recording there have been plenty of conductors who have redressed the balance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Handel: Messiah
Handel: Messiah by Georg Friederich Handel (Audio CD - 1992)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews