Handel: Messiah

Naxos: 8570131-32

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Handel: Messiah



Catalogue No:




Release date:

2nd Oct 2006




2 hours 21 minutes


CD (download also available)
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Handel: Messiah

(1751 version)

Henry Jenkinson, Otta Jones, Robert Brooks (trebles), Iestyn Davies (countertenor), Toby Spence (tenor), Eamonn Dougan (bass), Nicholas Wearne (organ continuo)

Academy of Ancient Music & Choir of New College Oxford, Edward Higginbottom

CD - 2 discs


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This new recording of Handel’s Messiah presents the first modern recording of a re-construction of Handel’s unique London performances of Messiah in April and May 1751, when he used treble voices from the Chapel Royal for choruses and arias.

George Frideric Handel: Messiah, HWV 56

Part I: Sinfonia

Part I: Comfort Ye, My People

Part I: Every Valley Shall Be Exalted

Part I: And the Glory of the Lord

Part I: Thus Saith the Lord of Hosts

Part I: But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming

Part I: And He Shall Purify

Part I:Behold, a Virgin Shall Conceive, and Bear a Son

Part I: O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion

Part I: For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth

Part I: The People That Walked in Darkness

Part I: For unto Us a Child Is Born

Part I: Pifa

Part I: There Were Shepherds Abiding in the Field

Part I: Glory to God in the Highest

Part I: Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion

Part I: Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind Be Opened

Part I: He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd

Part I: His Yoke Is Easy, His Burthen Is Light

Part II: Behold, the Lamb of God

Part II: He Was Despised and Rejected of Men

Part II: Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs and Carried Our Sorrows

Part II: And with His Stripes We Are Healed

Part II: All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray

Part II: All They That See Him, Laugh Him to Scorn

Part II: He Trusted in God That He Would Deliver Him

Part II: Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart

Part II: Behold, and See If There Be Any Sorrow Like unto His Sorrow

Part II: He Was Cut Off, Out of the Land of the Living

Part II: But Thou Didst Not Leave His Soul in Hell

Part II: Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates

Part II: Unto Which of the Angels Said He at Any Time

Part II: Let All the Angels of God Worship Him

Part II: Thou Art Gone Up on High

Part II: The Lord Gave the Word

Part II: How Beautiful Are the Feet of Them That Preach the Gospel of Peace

Part II: Their Sound Is Gone Out into All Lands

Part II: Why Do the Nations So Furiously Rage Together

Part II: Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder

Part II: He That Dwelleth in Heaven Shall Laugh Them to Scorn

Part II: Thou Shalt Break Them with a Rod of Iron

Part II: Hallelujah

Part III: I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

Part III: Since by Man Came Death

Part III: Behold, I Tell You a Mystery

Part III: The Trumpet Shall Sound

Part III: Then Shall Be Brought to Pass the Saying That Is Written

Part III: O Death, Where Is Thy Sting

Part III: But Thanks Be to God

Part III: If God Is for Us, Who Can Be Against Us

Part III: Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain

Part III: Amen

The Telegraph

“This is a very special recording. Not only is it of quite outstanding quality both musically and dramatically, but, being sung entirely by male voices associated with a single institution (all the soloists are past or present members of New College Choir), it probably comes as close as modern conditions permit to a sound that Handel would have recognized.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“Taking his cue from Handel's 1751 performances, Edward Higginbottom assigns all the soprano solos to some talented boy trebles from the Choir of New College, Oxford. Otta Jones's contribution to 'He shall feed his flock' and Henry Jenkinson's 'I know that my redeemer liveth' are lovely testaments to Higginbottom's crusading 30 years with his choir.
At best, Higginbottom's choir produces some marvelous moments ('All we like sheep', and one of the finest 'Amen' fugues on disc). Higginbottom's direction does not boil with dramatic intensity but instead simmers along with patience, elegant judgement and articulate tastefulness.
Some familiar music bears ripe fruit when taken a shade slower than has become common in recent times ('Glory to God' is splendid rather than hurried, and all the better for it). Ex-scholar Toby Spence is on fine form in 'Rejoice greatly', and Iestyn Davies's poetic singing is another enjoyable feature, although one might hanker for a more dramatic treatment of 'shame and spitting' ('He was despised'). 'The trumpet shall sound' resounds with David Blackadder's magnificent playing, and the Academy of Ancient Music play Handel's orchestral parts immaculately.
This Naxos release will appeal to those who want an affordable Messiah that is beautifully played, brightly sung, sweetly satisfying and unashamedly English in its sentimental roots.”

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