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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
13

on 4 October 2017
Enjoyed listening to it!
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on 8 January 2014
i bought this version of the messiah because the bbc music magazine for December judged it as the best version available,i have three versions two on cd and one on vynil.and having heard it only a couple of times would not argue with the review.it is a warm and clear sounding performance from start to finish, and it seems performed with great emotion, I am so pleased to have it .
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on 15 December 2010
Other reviewers have mentioned the conductor, Stephen Layton's occasional variations from Handel's original score; but to my mind these enhance, rather than diminish the music by adding to the drama and achieving a delightful freshness in the performance. The result links the oratorio to Handel's extensive operatic output, allowing one to appreciate how grounded this music is in the composer's earlier successes in the theatre.

The artists here represent some of the very best performers in what is currently a British musical scene riding high in international opinion. The Britten Sinfonia and the choir, Polyphony, have won prestigious awards, as has Stephen Layton; and whilst all four soloists sing beautifully, the soprano, Julia Doyle, conveys an innocent delight, great dexterity and sublime tonal purity such that I have rarely encountered before. Handel delays the soprano's entrance until after the Pastoral Symphony, some two-thirds of the way through Part I - but when it happens, what wonder, what a sense of mystery and then rejoicing she brings to us all!

This is the third or fourth recording of The Messiah I have bought, most of them classic versions in their day: but I have absolutely no doubts that this reigns supreme. Go out and buy it, because it might just change your life.
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on 23 November 2010
This is a cracking recording, beautifully sung and played, and very well recorded live in St John's Smiths Square in London. Stand out moments include the gorgeous, pure singing of the Soprano in "He shall feed his flock" (very moving), all of the counter tenor arias and the very final "amen", after a huge pause (and intake of breath!) with the trumpet going off like a rocket... thrilling!
Even if you already have a good recording of Messiah, make room for this one on your shelves.
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on 6 December 2009
An excellent performance and recording of 'Messiah' which appears to have been recorded 'live', as there is slight ambient noise like that from an audience, between movements. Nonetheless this recording is fresh, exuberant, superbly sung and played by Polyphony with soloists and the Britten Sinfonia under the baton of Stephen Layton. Just about the best recording of Messiah I've heard yet. Worth every penny, you won't be disappointed.
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on 29 January 2014
Such a stylish performance, superbly executed, and with its small forces very fashionable these days. But...do the musicians really connect with the words? Somehow the whole lacks conviction: the surface is glittering, but what of the depth?
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on 6 January 2010
OK, the performance is idiosyncratic. Sometimes Layton changes the orchestration which has Handel scholars harummphing. But oh, what a reading of the Messiah this is! With a small professional choir, the vocal lines in the choruses have life and clarity. The tenor soloist is particularly stunning in his vocal control. You will know what I mean from his first 'Comfort Ye'.
The slight disappointment is the 2 very great moments - 'And suddenly there was with the Angels' and the Halleluja chorus do not stand out as they do in other performances - because everything else is so very good. But this is more than made up for by the many other wonderful moments. When the choir sings 'the iniquity of us all' at the end of the 'All we like sheep' chorus (the whole of which is stunning) Layton has them sing a cappella (shock, horror from the Handel purists). But every world leader should listen to this chorus weekly and may be there would be less war and greed.

Buy it.
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on 7 September 2011
Leyton offers a baroque performance of Handel's Messiah. This style is different from what we (the common audience) expect from one of the most popular pieces in classical music. Leyton's performance of the Messiah is in essence what Handel intended in first place.
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on 15 August 2015
One of the best Messiah recordings. Beautiful and bright performance. Young singers with light, bright, and warm lyrical voices. Julia Doyle, Iestyn Davies, and Allan Clayton sing with a good balance between technical virtuosity and sincere expression. Bass Andrew Foster-Williams has both authority and power. The chorus is excellent and the polyphony between the sopranos and tenors is particularly beautiful. Church acoustics are vibrant, bright and well articulated. A Messiah performance for repeated listening. Recommended along with many others, including: Christie, Perlman, Susuki, Davis, Higginbottom, Hogwood, Parrot, Gardiner, Hickox.
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on 19 January 2010
I bought this CD for my husband after hearing it reviewed on BBC Radio 3. Although we already had a recording of the Messiah it was only the choruses and the recording was poor.
This recording by Stephen Layton is superb. Lively and bright and very recommended.
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