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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handel's Wonderful Vision.
In 1959, when I was 14 years old my father bought me a 7" mono EP of three excerpts of this recording, no doubt believing I needed some uplifting music! The "Hallelujah" Chorus, of course, went down very well, but I thought the other two tracks were a bit heavy going, and perhaps not helped by the rather soggy sound of my father's HMV radiogram.

In the...
Published on 25 Mar 2011 by T.J.Byford

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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So-so
Bought this disc on the back of a rave review from one of the Sunday papers (Times, I think) but have been rather disappointed. the soloists are fine but the choral and orchestral parts sound thin and anaemic to me. I'm going to look for a more 'traditional' version like the Colin Davis perhaps. I'm untutored in music but this version seems to lack conviction, which is...
Published on 20 Sep 2008 by E. Snelling


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handel's Wonderful Vision., 25 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
In 1959, when I was 14 years old my father bought me a 7" mono EP of three excerpts of this recording, no doubt believing I needed some uplifting music! The "Hallelujah" Chorus, of course, went down very well, but I thought the other two tracks were a bit heavy going, and perhaps not helped by the rather soggy sound of my father's HMV radiogram.

In the intervening years, I have listened to a number of live performances and had acquired several recordings on CD and which I subsequently passed on as none gave me the same feeling of joy as when I listened to that original mono recording of Hallelujah, all those years ago. Oddly, the one recording I didn't try was this one, mainly because I missed its being released. It has been a long time coming, but for me now, I have the perfect recording and performance of this work.

Reading Sir Malcolm's original 1959 liner notes which have been retained for this release, is a revelation in itself. Even way back then he was pointing out the deficiencies and problems faced with trying to create an "authentic" performance when Handel left so little behind to guide a conductor as to how the work should be performed. Essentially then, what we hear today has more to do with the conductor's vision as opposed to Handel's.

"Messiah" is an English Oratorio in the true sense, it is not something sung in an English translation of a foreign text. It therefore benefits from having native singers whose diction is first rate. And you certainly get this from the singers on this recording. Clear diction also extends to the 100 strong hand-picked members of the Huddersfield Choral Society, that great body of singers who have a tradition of singing Messiah in their blood. You should be aware then, that this is a performance on the grand scale, a traditionally English view of "Messiah".

But the "miracle" hear is the balance between the orchestra, soloists and the large choir. It is all placed in a fairly natural and open acoustic. So no part outdoes the other, such that the sound engineer has done a marvellous job at keeping the whole sound clean and even when the choir is singing its loudest, they are not distorted. The soloists can be heard against the orchestra and the various sections of the choir are all distinct and with that very clear diction of theirs that means the sound never gets "thick". Do no look down on this recording because if dates from 1959. The remastering for CD is superb.

Sir Malcolm was one of a handful of conductors who, in my opinion, never sought effects in his music making, preferring to let the music speak for itself. His interpretation in this performance seems to have a naturalness and flow that just seems right.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning Messiah, 13 Jan 2011
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Alan Bennett (Dordogne, FRANCE) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
I have collected several versions of Haendel's Messiah over the years, and this one is by far the best. Brilliant choral and solo singing, fast-paced but never rushed, superb solos, a really exciting version of this great classic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Messiah, 7 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Handel - Messiah (MP3 Download)
I really enjoy the choir, orchestra and conductor of this edition. It takes my back nearly to my childhood. I listen to it in the night when I cannot get to sleep because of pain. it is wonderful in every way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great old recording, 16 Nov 2013
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Mr. J. Walker "GardenGnome" (Staffs) - See all my reviews
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A full messiah with all the tracks and some wonderful solos. Brought back memories of my younger days. As with many old recordings there is some static noise noticeable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Messiah Recording, 12 Jan 2012
This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
This is a fine recording by Harry Christophers and the Sixteen Choir and Orchestra,
with an excellent line-up of soloists. With relatively small forces the balance of the choir sections, the clarity of pronunciation and feeling for the words are very noticable. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 2 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
I've always enjoyed this version of the messiah and when my old copy developed a glitch I was sorry ,so when I saw this I snapped it up
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best recording of Messiah., 20 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Audio CD)
I also have a set of three vinyl LP's of Handel's Messiah with the Royal Philharmonic orch. conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent and Royal Choral Soc.(Reader's Digest) and this persuaded me to get a CD version. I much prefer the slower tempo of Sir Malcolm Sargent's conducting than others I've heard. My favourite tracks are "Behold the lamb of God" and "Worthy is the lamb" which ends with the amen chorus. Absolutely superb from beginning to end!
If you already have Messiah, buy this version and compare. You will not regret it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Benchmark!, 3 Feb 2014
This review is from: Handel - Messiah (MP3 Download)
I have several versions of Messiah but always revert to this one. To my mind it is a "proper" Messiah sung by a choir with Hallelujah written through them like a stick of rock and accompanied by the great Liverpool Phil.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Handel is one of the greats - Messiah is a masterpiece - This recording sets the standard for all., 23 Feb 2013
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This is THE definitive version. Despite technology and differing and vastly improved techniques for recording it will be a long time before this recording is surpassed. The soloist display the ability to sing without putting in the distracting 'twiddley - look at how clever I am' trills.

The choir obviously are enjoying themselves as evidenced the 'happiness' in the sound.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent traditional recording, 2 Jan 2013
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A replacement for my Mackerras version with the Huddersfield Choral & Royal Philharmonic this does not disappoint. Now for a more modern version on period instruments.
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Handel - Messiah by Malcolm Sargent & The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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