3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
My favourite Messiah!!,
This review is from: Handel : The Messiah (Audio CD)
It's Christmastime and I felt like listening to Messiah. I have other complete recordings (Beecham, Sargent, Boult, Colin Davis, Gardiner and Klemperer) and this one, which had been purchased as second hand LPs and then not listened to for nearly a year.
I have been mightily impressed with this recording. It is played by a modern instrument chamber orchestra (the English Chamber Orchestra) with a modest sized choir. The soloists are all fantastic, two of whom, Helen Watts and John Shirley Quirk were also on Colin Davis's 1966 LSO recording. They all sing some wonderfully ornamented solos. I have also always admired Felicity Palmer's characterful singing and Ryland Davies is also a very fine tenor.
The balance between choir and orchestra is perfect. I really registered far more in terms of expressive orchestral and vocal detail than I did with the more traditional big band shouts. However, there is nothing underpowered about this performance. What I loved was the articulation in "But who may abide the day of his coming" middle section and there are some magical harpsichord continuo playing from Raymond Leppard throughout the recording. This is a recording of Messiah that really lifts the spirits.
The cover appears to be understated and I think it will be all to easy to overlook this recording. However, I think it marvellous and hope that others give it a go. It is also fantastic value for money.