Mstation Classical Reviews

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Thu, 01 Jun 2006

Handel, Messiah

George Frederick Handel - Messiah	
Arlene Auger, Anne Sofie von Otter, Michael Chance, 
Howard Crook, John Tomlinson, Trevor Pinnock
English Chamber Orchestra and Choir
CD, Archiv Produktion

Originally recorded onto LP in 1988, this recording is amongst the best you will find. It was given significant recognition a year later by winning a Brit Award. An added effect is the use of authentic instruments giving this recording a wonderfully ornate feel, and exactly what I needed to hear from the moment I set it off. The ECC produce an excellent quality of sound, and pronounce clearly, a factor often overlooked when a choir is the lesser focus.

The soloists cannot be faulted on their performance of what is understandably a work of significant difficulty. Each has taken their part, and with evident study, added a very personal side to the music. Like characters in a play, they act on the music, and with the orchestra, add great drama and excitement.

Let us not forget the harpsichord whose sound is precise and dominant. It leads the orchestra exactly how continuo should. Nor the chamber organ whose delicate sound of the 18th Century tradition can be heard accompanying the soloists and the orchestra the majority of the time.

If you have the LP of this recording, it is well worth buying this re-released version on CD as a more permanent edition to your collection. Enjoy, and be relieved at the quality of sound bliss to ears. (E Walton)

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