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18 Reviews
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
An excellent version, nicely sung and recorded, with excellent performances of all the "big" numbers - brisk, but never breathless. The soloists (no big names) are uniformly good.

Only one (personal) reservation - I'm very partial to the spine-chilling counter-tenor version of "For He is like a refiner's fire", done best of all by Paul Esswood for Charles...
Published on 4 Nov 2006 by Teemacs

versus
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Joyless, and by no means interesting
I wanted to like this, but sadly I can't. It isn't that I insist on a particular performing tradition - I can still enjoy the very different approaches of Scherchen and Hogwood, but this performance fails at so many levels.

The soloists aren't good, which is a thoroughly bad start. I can derive no pleasure from the work of the soprano or the tenor. Both seem...
Published 7 months ago by N. R. J. McCaughan


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 4 Nov 2006
By 
Teemacs (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
An excellent version, nicely sung and recorded, with excellent performances of all the "big" numbers - brisk, but never breathless. The soloists (no big names) are uniformly good.

Only one (personal) reservation - I'm very partial to the spine-chilling counter-tenor version of "For He is like a refiner's fire", done best of all by Paul Esswood for Charles Mackerras. As this recording seeks to provide the first Dublin performance, we get the less virtuosic bass version of that version. But that's my only quibble. Highly recommended.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rejoice, 27 Dec 2006
By 
Roger T. Cutler (Houston, TX) - See all my reviews
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I just thought I'd point out that this performance uses the 6-8 version of Rejoice. I've looked at that in the score but I've never heard it performed. I found it utterly charming.

Overall, having performed Messiah more times than I care to count, this performance is an enjoyable, new look at the work. At least, new to me.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the pile!, 22 Feb 2007
Having listened to many of the various versions of Messiah, and previously having had The English Concert/Pinnock (Archiv) as my top choice, this new release from the Dunedin Consort has now surpassed that. Sure, it's sometimes tricky to compare recordings of different performing versions of the Messiah (of which there are many) but this recording of the 1742 Dublin version, whilst it might have been originally adapted by Handel to cater for soloists of perhaps a lesser quality than he could lay his hands on elsewhere, is by no means a 'poorer' version for that, certainly if this recording is anything to go by.

Where this recording really excels is the superb diction of both choir and the soloists drawn from within. Maybe easier to achieve with smaller forces than on most other recordings but the diction is supreme nonetheless. Clare Wilkinson's 'He Was Despised' comes up in quite the most heart rending and tragic rendition I have ever heard (which is how it should be) and is for me, the premier highlight amongst many. The overall oratorio is presented with such charm and the sense that Charles Jennens' collection of Scriptures is narrated as an entire story from start to finish.

The playing of the Dunedin Players is superb and the balance between choir and instrumentalists in the Hallelujah Chorus in particular is supreme and produces a rendition most joyful, (aided by the wonderfully punchy trumpets and timpani) far removed from the Victoriana pomposity of a number of older versions and the numerous 'Come Along and Sing' Hallelujahs (and Messiahs in general) frequently put on each year.

Quite the most sublime and joyful recorded version of Messiah I've ever heard. The Dunedin Consort and Players (not to mention John Butt!) should be proud.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile but not the best, 23 April 2009
By 
enthusiast "enthusiast" (sussex, uk) - See all my reviews
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Many of the reviews here miss the point as far as I am concerned. It is not this version versus the very old school of performance. The question is "does this version stand up to competition with the best of the "historically correct" period versions?". The short answer is that it simply does not but ...

... it IS irresistible in its way. The choral work - done by a tiny group - is delectably fresh, lithe and different. It's strengths can be found here and in the genuine enthusiasm of the soloists - they really seem to be enjoying themselves.

There are no big name soloists - all are drawn from the tiny chorus. They all have pleasant voices and use them musically but they lack the technical resources and tonal range of their more well known rivals - singers who have made successful careers out of solo work. To some extent the soloists here make up for what they lack in artistry with naturalness, intimacy and simplicity. But while they can charm and while their enthusiasm is infectious, they lack the power to thrill and to ravish that we expect from top rank soloists.

The interpretation itself is sometimes a little square (and is often less shaped than rivals). Listen to it alongside some of the other available period versions. This set is positively dull when listened to next to my current favourite (that of McCreesh) and seems a poor choice when compared with other front runners that I have heard (Pinnock, Harnoncourt): it seems to present a smaller and less astonishing work.

For all that, I am glad to have it and will listen to and enjoy it occasionally for the very unique qualities it does possess. But it is rediculous to say it is the best available - it is not even close to that - and I suspect the rave reviews here represent something of a fan club mentality rather than objective and informed comparison.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 22 Mar 2013
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We really like it - no profound views, no musicology. We just like the sound of the music and the performance.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best version, 20 Dec 2010
By 
L. M. Jakobsen (Europe) - See all my reviews
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I have for years (at Christmas time) listened to the Pinnock version, which is fantastic. With the Butt/Dunedin Consort & Players, which I have only heard a few times, I think of words such as depth, delicate, refined and musicality. Another fantastic version. We are fortunate to be able to have such music available to us so easily. It is divine.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Handel, 11 Jan 2008
By 
John Moyes "JRM" (Cyprus) - See all my reviews
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There are many versions of 'Messiah' available, ranging from those with choirs in the hundreds(Sargent. Beecham, et al)to those with much smaller choirs and with period instruments (Pinnock and others). But even if you have these, the is a version in the 'must have' category. There are only 13 choir members and the soloists 'double' from the choir. This would be an approach quite familiar to Handel; many oratorios were performed thus.In this version every crotchet is absolutely accurate; reading against the 'Dublin' score, and there are only trivial and very few 'cuts'. The sheer musicality has, in my view, never been achieved before - and I have been listening to 'Messiah' in live performance and on disc for over 50 years. Every aria and every chorus is 'fresh' and the diction, intonation, musical nuance and breath control are all superb. If you buy an oratorio disc this year, and even if you have many versions of Messiah, this is a 'must have'. Moving and memorable - quite outstanding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 21 April 2014
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Mr. I. Ringstead "Happy Chappy" (Sheffield UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a superb recording and one of the best versions ever .True to the original and well worth getting .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Revelation, 27 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Handel Messiah (MP3 Download)
For years I had viewed Messiah with horror, big modern orchestra and large chorus just do not do it justice in my opinion. I was not even tempted to try again even with a number of period instrument recordings appearing. I purchased the CD of this shortly after it came out and the scales fell from my eyes - simply wonderful and a thing of beauty. It is simple, other than strings, continuo and organ there are only 2 natural trumpets and the best sounding timpani I have ever heard. The soloists reinforce the chorus which from memory makes a total of 12 singers. It is clean and fresh and a revelation.
With brisk tempi, clear enunciation and clean and uncluttered scoring the Dublin version allows the unvarnished beauty of the piece to become apparent. The small forces can still achieve a good volume and magnificence - Worthy is the Lamb and the Amen in particular are truly splendid. The recording quality is very fine and one can hear everything clearly.
My only gripe is the download. On my kindle I cannot scroll all the way to the end and and on my PC disc2 comes first so a bit of readjusting needed.
That notwithstanding this is a joy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Handel: Messiah, 2 Jan 2013
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Just love listening to the music especially the Hallelujah chorus - there isn't anything I dislike about it and play it from time to time
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