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Customer Review

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile but not the best, 23 April 2009
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This review is from: Handel: Messiah (Dublin Version, 1742) (Audio CD)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Dec 2010 18:45:08 GMT
Daripa1963 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Mar 2012 20:43:11 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Mar 2012 21:03:34 GMT
enthusiast says:
Fair enough, Dave. I do think it a bit "out there" to feel that this is "the best" Messiah. To have many who think that it is that good made me a little suspicious about how they reached that conclusion. But you are 100% right that I might have kept my suspicions to myself and should have accepted their views as totally valid. On the other hand I think you overstate it when you say I lambasted them.

Do you really feel it that getting a spelling wrong is such a big deal and says so much about me? But you are right: I am certainly not an authority on music! My own field is much more obscure.

I have left my review untouched and unedited so that anyone who cares to can see the faults you refer to.

Am I an idiot? Perhaps. One objective fact is clear to all: you go quite a bit further than I did in the offensiveness stakes!
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Location: sussex, uk

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