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Handel: Messiah CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Midori Suzuki, Yoshikazu Mera, John Elwes, David Thomas
  • Orchestra: Bach Collegium Japan
  • Conductor: Masaaki Suzuki
  • Composer: Georg Friederich Handel
  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: BIS
  • ASIN: B0000266U9
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 417,925 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. And Without Controversy
  2. Symphony
  3. Comfort Ye My People
  4. Ev're valley shall be exalted
  5. And the Glory of the Lord Shall Be Revealed
  6. Thus Saith the Lord
  7. But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming
  8. And He Shall Purify the Sons of Levi
  9. Behold, a Virgin Shall Conceive
  10. O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion
  11. For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth
  12. The People That Walked in Darkness
  13. For Unto Us a Child Is Born
  14. Pifa
  15. There Were Shepherds Abiding
  16. And Lo, the Angel of the Lord
  17. And the Angel Said Unto Them
  18. And Suddenly There Was With the Angel
  19. Glory to God in the Highest
  20. Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion
  21. Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind Be Open'd
  22. He Shall Feed His Flock
  23. His Yoke Is Easy, His Burthen Is Light
  24. Behold the Lamb of God
  25. He Was Despised and Rejected of Men

Disc: 2

  1. Surely, He Hath Borne Our Griefs
  2. And With His Stripes We Are Healed
  3. All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray
  4. All They That See Him Laugh
  5. He Trusted in God That He Would Deliver Him
  6. Thy rebuke hath broken hes heart
  7. Behold, and See If There Be Any Sorrow
  8. He Was Cut Off Out of the Land
  9. But Thou Didst Not Leave His Soul in Hell
  10. Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates
  11. Unto Which of the Angels Said He
  12. Let All the Angels of God Worship Him
  13. Thou Art Gone Up On High
  14. The Lord Gave the Word
  15. How Beautiful Are the Feet of Him
  16. Their Sound Is Gone Out
  17. Why Do the Nations So Furiously Rage Together
  18. Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder
  19. He That Dwelleth in Heaven
  20. Thou Shalt Break Them With a Rod of Iron
  21. Hallelujah!
  22. I Know That My Redeemer Liveth
  23. Since By Man Came Death
  24. Behold, I Tell You a Mystery
  25. The Trumpet Shall Sound
  26. Then Shall Be Brought to Pass
  27. O Death, Where Is Thy Sting
  28. Baut thanks be to God
  29. If God Be for Ever
  30. Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Good singing from the soloists, especially the beautiful voice of male alto Yoshikazu Mera. The performance is very lively, as are most period instrument performances. The English diction by the Japanese singers is less than perfect, especially the rather distant sound choir. Worth investigating.
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Format: Audio CD
There are many things very fine about this recording. First the choral singing is mostly sublime with great attention given to creating correct Baroque dynamics with a minimum of singers. It is one of the best choral interpretations with period instruments ever recorded. The countertenor (alto) Yoshikazu Mera is truly exceptional. The soprano Midori Suzuki is generally very good as well. Their English pronounciation is almost perfect. The very few and slight imperfections are in no way troublesome, in fact one comes away from listening to this recording thinking that these are native English speakers. The orchestral interpretation, at the level of creating a truly 3 dimensional baroque architecture is exceptional. However the orchestral playing does seem to be a bit too studied and overly controlled. It seems to have been conceived to please musical specialists and musicologists; and in fact this interpretation is an attempt to recreate a specific performance of The Messiah performed by Handel himself on one specific occasion, and with the same number of players and choral singers. This historical and musicological background leads to an interpretation, which lacks a certain musical freedom and naturalness and spontaneity, thus creating an overall interpretation lacking a certain emotionalism, which does not create spine tingling moments as the Christie version most certainly does.
The most serious problems with this recording are the 2 male soloists, who give affected and musically bizarre accents to the musical lines. These moments are very disturbing indeed and almost not listenable. This is especially true of the tenor Elwes. Therefore in summary this is another interpretation of the Messiah ruined by the 2 male soloists.
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Format: Audio CD
With a work as well known as this, it would be easy to churn out yet another non-descript version only to see it wither and fade amongst other dried leaves. Not so this surprising offering. Instead of a stodgy, steam sponge pudding of a performance this is a beautiful souffle, light and airy and bouncing along (without ever being rushed). I am very particular about counter-tenors, but Mera is utterly magnificent as the alto. The soprano, Suzuki, is consistently good but - like the other reviewers - I found the traditional male soloists let the side down rather, particularly the tenor. A great shame because the choir are wonderful, and I having nothing but praise for their diction (I forget they are not even native speakers). Not a perfect edition, but one of the best I have ever heard. A delight.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the best recording ever made of Messiah. Don't listen to people who say that some of the soloists aren't the best. Everything about this recording is the unsurpassed; the sound quality, soloists, chorus and orchestra.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 15 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best, but quite good 10 Jan. 2001
By Michael K. Halloran - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Perhaps no task is as daunting to the classical music novice as choosing a recording of Handel's "Messiah." It is a given that no one recording will satisfy all points equally well, although some come close. Suzuki's recording with the Bach Collegium Japan will probably not be any listener's first choice, but there are enough good things here to recommend this set.
The recording is a period performance, and one on a smaller-scale than most: 21 choristers, 20 orchestral players. It is a credit to Suzuki and his ensemble that the music nevers sounds thin or emaciated -- rather, there is a beautiful, delicate, other-worldly transparency that results. This is one of the rare recordings that really makes "Messiah" a spiritual experience rather than an excuse to cash in on the familiarity of the music.
The choir sings beautifully, always clean and with really jaw-droppingly accurate runs. Listen to the "we have turned" melismas in "All we like sheep" and you'll know what I mean. The orchestra is equally fine; they can produce a full dramatic sound when necessary, but clarity and taste are always present.
The soloists are a mixed bag. I'm disappointed in the men -- John Elwes has some truly bizarre pronunciation issues and it feels like he's attacking the text rather than enunciating it. David Thomas sounds worn and dry, and his coloratura is approximate, with some notes only guessed at.
However, the higher-voiced soloists are from another plane entirely -- they sound angelic, unearthly. Both have soft-grained voices with just enough vibrato to add interest. Neither would be my first choice to hear in this music, but they fit Suzuki's concept of the score brilliantly. Each has coloratura that rises naturally out of the line and becomes part of the line itself, rather than just an excuse for technical display -- I've never heard these passages sung like this in any other "Messiah" recording. It reminds the listener that coloratura was a normal part of Baroque vocal expression and should be treated as such. Tasteful vocal ornamentation is allowed, as well, which I like. The pronunciation of Mr. Mera and Ms. Suzuki is also excellent -- an occasional odd vowel sound aside, you'd never guess that these weren't native English speakers.
This is a recording that reminds us how special this music is and how easy (and dangerous) it can be to become accustomed to bland, mechanical performances of this masterpiece. The tenor and bass soloists aside, this is a fine recording -- not a first choice, perhaps, but one recommended to augment a personal favorite.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overall the best Messiah I have heard so far (out of many) 31 July 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
We're a "Messiah-singing family" and various versions of Handel's Messiah, including CDs and scores, are heavily used around our house. This is the recording we always come back to as our main reference standard. I haven't heard every single recording that gets good reviews, but I have heard a good half dozen of the most popular recent recordings as well as the standard recordings from the 1970s and 1960s, and this recording tops them all. It isn't a perfect recording by any means, however. For example, BCJ could easily top this recording today by using Robin Blaze in place of Yoshikazu Mera. It never ceases to amaze me that as of this writing Mr. Blaze still doesn't appear in a released recording of Messiah, despite having participated in more than 70 recordings of Renaissance and Baroque choral works to date. A few years ago I heard Mr. Blaze as the Alto soloist with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, and boy did the sparks fly on Mr. Blaze's solos. Truly wonderful, like nothing I have heard from any Alto soloist previously. BCJ uses Mr. Blaze as a soloist extensively, but director Masaaki Suzuki has told me he has no plans to re-record this work even for release on DVD (which is how BCJ got its recording of Mr. Blaze singing in Bach's Johannes-Passion; Mr. Mera appears on the earlier CD issue). I consider Mr. Mera to be the weak link in this Messiah recording. It's interesting to me that other some reviewers raved about him, because his singing does not impress me all that much -- too lacking in heft. Having said that, I *still* prefer Mr. Mera to many female voices that I have heard singing the Alto solos. The Amazon reviewer was not thrilled with Mssrs. Elwes and Thomas but I have no complaints. Have their voices seen better days? Yes, it must be admitted. But they delivered wonderful performances nevertheless. And contrary to what one reviewer said, Mr. Elwes does *not* have "some truly bizarre pronunciation issues." Among the soloists, it is Soprano Midori Suzuki (wife of cellist Hidemi Suzuki) who really shines. I can see where someone might characterize her voice as "sometimes fragile"; however, I don't know if I would go that far. I think her renditions of the Soprano arias are the best I have ever heard. If I had to subtract any points from her performance, perhaps it might be in her recitatives; for those I tend to prefer The Sixteen's soloist Lynda Russell. As for the chorus, well, I don't think anybody can touch them, even The Sixteen or other top choirs. Even here I don't want to give a perfect score; there are places where I think some nuances of Handel's meaning have not been adequately brought out through the choir's singing technique, but I think that is because of an interpretative decision on Masaaki Suzuki's part, rather than because the chorus couldn't deliver. This is a chorus that delivers exactly what is asked of it. The same is true of the instrumental performers. So, to reiterate: definitely not perfect, but certainly one of the best if not the absolute best Messiah to date, and worth all five of the stars I gave it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the best 14 Aug. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a very fine version of Handels Messiah (Covent Garden version).
I mostly like Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan in major works like this, St Matthew and St John passions, Christmas Oratorium (you not find that Christamas Oratorium version seeking "Suzuki" and so on but you find it if you go for one of the singers... "Turk" instead and that disc is one of the best versions of Bachs Christmas Oratorium in my opinion -togheter with Koopmans and Gardiners) and I also like Suzukis version of Monteverdis Vespers.
Sum up about THIS one is that is def. one of the best and safest choise for both newcombers and old experts looking for a GOOD PERIOD instrument version and this not sound so much period as McCreesh version does (McCreesh Messiah version is DEF. a bit "harder" but is in my opinion more special... a "brave" version -in a positive way).
This version is whatsoever excellent so buy it with no hesitation. I dont want to be without McCreesh OR this Excellent Suzuki. This one also has a nice sound as you could expected from Swedish record label BIS and records engineered/performed in Japan.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent all around! 22 Dec. 2000
By Gregory M. Zinkl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a beautiful performance of a warhorse.
Suzuki and his colleagues give us a very polished and refined performance. While in some hands, polish and refinement can translate into a surface gloss, what we have here is a performance that digs into the meaning of the text, and yet further, seems to almost *preach* the text (in the most positive meaning)--it seems to be heartfelt.
While the Amazon reviewer complains that the male soloists might be past their prime, I find nothing 2nd rate about them--so maybe in comparison to themselves they come up short, but certainly not in general! The orchestra is small--the same size as Radu's on Vox--but the playing is world-class instead of provincial, and the acoustic (the same locale as their on-going Bach cantata series) is perfect, as is the engineering. The overall effect is that any scrawniness that small ensembles such as this one can bring is either masked by the helpful acoustic, or these musicians are so accurate, scrawniness doesn't happen! (I'm betting the latter, btw).
The chorus is well-balanced, and although the diction isn't as marvelous as Radu's, it's pretty darn good, and this Japanese group gives their English-speaking colleagues a good run for their money!
So, another take on the Messiah that is worthy to add to an already over-crowded catalogue!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusually gentle and tender Messiah 16 Dec. 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
the best parts of this Messiah from Japan are tenderly moving. One gets the feeling of a small chapel at twilight, with a handful of choristers and musicians trying sincerely to evoke an atmosphere of worship. the soprano soloist is unusually soft-grained but lovely in the simplicity of her expression. The two imported English soloists, tenor and bass, attack their arias with a dramatic force that isn't in keeping with the rest of the performance, and if they aren't in the best shape vocally, they pass muster. the standout is the excellent Japanese countertenor Yoshikazu Mera, who is musical and expressive; his voice is attractive, managing to sound natural rather than like a man imitating a creaky alto.

Suzuki keeps the pace moving, and without benefit of following a score, it seems to me that he skips quite a few repeats. Unfortunately, we do get almost 9 min. of a not-very-impressive The trumpet shall sound, and at nearly 6 min., I know that my Redeemer liveth exposes a little tedium in the soprano's delivery. but as long as the nimble chorus and orchestra dominate, everything goes well. Double-dotted rhythms are not explosive, thankfully, and in general Suzuki treats the dear old score with respect, hewing to the middle of the road.

In terms of sounding English, the results are mixed. the Japanese singers tread lightly to make sure that their vowels are perfect, but the result is somewhat stilted. The chorus hits their l's (a consonant not found in Japanese), so All we like sheep doesn't become, as so often, Oh, we like sheep - I miss that grinning moment. The usual HIP recommendations like Gardiner and Pinnock are on a faster train to Oxford, but even with its faint Asian flavor, this Messiah is more reverent. A lot depends on whether you see this as a theater piece, because Suzuki clearly doesn't.

Midori Suzuki (soprano), Yoshikazu Mera (alto), John Elwes (tenor/narrator), David Thomas (bass)

Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki
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