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8 Reviews
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mother Of All Messiahs, 12 April 2003
By 
Shawn Williams "introfeel" (Gary, IN USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
I first heard this piece as a live radio simulcast when it was being recorded. It was bold and fresh and worthy of the composer and the subject matter. I have heard some monstrosities out there that are rather harsh on the ears, but you will find none of that in this recording. All of the pieces are phrased and enunciated so that the words are understood and they are poetically expressed in a manner that is worthy of the baroque period. I can feel the meaning behind each piece. I have been listening to this interpretation since it was first recorded and have never grown tired of it. Although there are some individual pieces by other conductors and artists that I enjoy very much, as a complete compilation no other interpretation even comes close to this one. I became bored with the Hogwood recording which is bland in comparison, and I am trying to sell it. I will always treasure and appreciate Gardiner's interpretation of this work and I consider this to be the mother of all Messiah's.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, 1 Aug 2005
By 
Baz Douglas (Thames Valley, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
Like the previous reviewer, I was once a devotee of the Hogwood version. This is very different. Hogwood is excellent, not boring at all, but this is a very different take. This is totally driven, energetic, electric, it's what you want to listen to when you are driving through the countryside on a sunny day with the top down. There is a real depth of feeling, a joyous tone, wonderful singing, superb playing. I doubt if it's what Handel had in mind, that's where Hogwood probably scores, but this is utterly transformational. Just buy it, it's better than any medication, more powerful than any other version of this masterpiece (I have 12 versions)and if you are stuck with the old huge orchestra/modern instruments/mega chorus versions you may find it puzzling first time around, but, less is very, very, much more.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good 'Messiah', 30 Dec 2008
By 
Iain C. Davidson "iain1825" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
There are many many recordings of 'Messiah' available. I have heard several of them but own only one and this is it. It's a very good version and I think John Eliot Gardiner conducts with energy but still brings out the beauty of the piece. His English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir is just the right size and sound I think.

There is not really a weak link among the solo voices. Anthony Rolfe Johnson was at his peak here as was Catherine Robbin and there is also a nice reminder of how lovely Margaret Marshall's voice was.

This is an excellent recording and highly recommended. I have a confession to make though - 'Messiah' is not my favourite Handel and I very seldom listen to it these days! For oratorio I much prefer 'Solomon' or 'Jephtha' instead!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye cobweb!, 23 July 2009
By 
Per Arne Rudberg "P-A Rudberg" (Vallentuna, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
This is for me a superb recording of this music. When I first heard it it swept away a lot of cobweb. It was like hearing the music for the very first time. The choruses are full of joy, triumph, glory and drama.

Gardiner has a fresh reading that his musicians are fully able to transform into sound. Especially the Monteverdi singers are absolute first class.

My only minus is some of the soloists. Tha bass soloist is lacking in character in my opinion.
I would also like some more embellishments in the da capo parts of some of the arias.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not the best, 12 Jan 2014
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
I came to this version of the Messiah with high expectations. To a large extent they were fulfilled. The singing of the choir is marvellous and tempi are lively throughout, though not excessively so, as in some recordings. The whole feeling is a very fresh rethought out rendering of this well-known work.
My doubts pertain to the soloists. Robert Hale is a true bass but his tone can be somewhat rough at times. The counter tenor is a bit weak and the other soloists, though good, don't quite match my favoured version, Pinnock's.
It must also be said, and this is a very subjective opinion, that Pinick brings out more of the devotional side of Messiah. So while this version is most enjoyable, I don't think it't the best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommended, 26 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
This performance given on period instruments conveys the freshness and spirit typical of John Eliot Gardiner's excellent choir and orchestra.

The quiet clear confidence of the opening sets the tone: 'Comfort ye ...' We know for certain that God has forgiven the iniquities of his people and everything is going to be all right in the end. Nicholas Kenyon points out that Messiah was originally written for Easter, and I particularly liked this part. Anthony Rolfe Johnson's singing of 'Behold and see ..' has such beauty and expresses such sorrow, it brought tears to my eyes. Also commended is Margaret Marshall's sweet and lucid tone for 'I know that my Redeemer liveth'.

I should have liked a slightly less brusque account of 'The trumpet shall sound,' but Crispian Steel-Perkins' playing is first rate.

I thoroughly recommend this recording.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 24 July 2013
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (2 CDs) (MP3 Download)
This recording is really lovely. The Monteverdi choir is world class and their rendition of Handel's Messiah is fresh sounding and clean. Well worth buying and the MP3 version is excellent value for money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Coming up trumps every time!, 27 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Handel: Messiah (2 CDs) (MP3 Download)
The score of the Messiah is deep in the hearts of many and this rendering by the Monteverdi choir releases fond memories and suggests new possibilities.
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Handel: Messiah (2 CDs)
Handel: Messiah (2 CDs) by English Baroque Soloists and John Eliot Gardiner and The Monteverdi Choir
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