Handel: Messiah

This page lists all recordings of Messiah, by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) on CD, SACD, DVD, Blu-ray & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

Messiah, based on a biblical libretto by Charles Jennens, was written in the summer of 1741 and first performed in Dublin on 13th April 1742. It was originally intended to be performed during lent but it has become more common since Handel's death for Messiah to be performed in Advent.

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Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


“Christie negotiates both wide-eyed wonderment of the Nativity and the pathos of Part II with aplomb in a performance underpinned by luxury casting and instrumental finesse.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013

Harmonia Mundi - up to 30% off

Harmonia Mundi - HMGold - HMG501498/99

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $15.75

Special: $11.02

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Händel: Der Messias

Händel: Der Messias

(German version by Johann Gottfried Herder)


Handel:

Messiah


Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (soprano), Maria Riccarda Wesseling (alto), Kobie van Rensburg (tenor), Raimund Notle (bass)

Lautten Compagney, Dresdner Kammerchor, Wolfgang Katschner

Deutsche HM - 88725443522

(CD - 2 discs)

$23.25

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Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


Decca - Double Decca - 4783946

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.25

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

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Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah

in German


Musical brightness and splendour: Handel's oratorios were effective dramatic works for the stage, with one exception: The Messiah. But precisely the reflective character and solemn style of the score helped the work achieve resounding success. For the first time, oratorios were allowed to be performed in church, and The Messiah soon had a firm place in choral societies' standard repertoire.

EMI Electrola Collection - 0882892

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.50

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Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


Deutsche HM - 88697606662

(CD - 2 discs)

$31.50

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Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


‘John Mark Ainsley sings with remarkable spiritedness throughout, exhibiting an accomplishment and beauty of his articulation in his early numbers which afford constant repetition.’ Gramophone

Booklet note and sung texts.

2009 is the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death.

The Messiah was written at great speed by Handel during the winter of 1741–2, and was received to great acclaim its first performance in Dublin in 1742. Charles Jennens compiled the text from the Bible, and the work is cast in three sections. Although a success in Dublin, the work had a less than warm welcome when it was performed in London without its title, and called ‘a New Sacred Oratorio’ to avoid causing offence to the rather puritanical British public and press. This ruse failed however, and the press were hostile. Jennens and Handel also fell out, as Jennens felt that the composer hadn’t taken enough time and care over the music! This was a low point for Handel, and he seriously contemplated leaving the UK and returning to Germany. Eventually, after a few years, and after a series of performances for charitable causes, the work became a firm favourite. It has been linked ever since with the composer’s generous charitable donations to the Foundling Hospital, of which he was a director along with William Hogarth and Thomas Coram. Messiah is the masterpiece of the English Baroque, and for 200 years has been performed by both professional and amateur choirs around the world. Handel’s gift for truly memorable tunes and (notwithstanding Jennens’s concerns) the care he took in setting the text have ensured that it has remained one of the most famous works ever composed.

Brilliant Classics Musica Sacra - 93948

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Daniel Taylor (alto), Benjamin Hulett (tenor) & Peter Harvey (bass)

Kammerchor Stuttgart & Barockorchester Stuttgart, Freider Bernius

Seldom has a CD recording been so eagerly anticipated as the Messiah with Freider Bernius.

“…Bernius's interpretation has irreproachable integrity and displays outstanding musical quality. The quartet of Anglo-Canadian soloists is near-perfect. Carolyn Sampson's coloratura, occasional embellishments and trills in "Rejoice greatly" are marvellous, and she combines with Taylor to heart-rendingly beautiful effect in a gorgeous account of "He shall feed his flock". The Stuttgart Chamber Choir could almost pass for a native British early music group: the counterpoint is purely blended and the inner parts are shaped with refinement. The Stuttgart Baroque Orchestra plays with captivating spontaneity while never forcing the issue, and the trumpets in "Glory to God" are ideally distant.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2009

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Carus - CARUS83219

(SACD - 2 discs)

$34.50

(also available to download from $20.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah

Live from the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge


“I would happily sit in King’s College Chapel listening to this choir sing for the rest of my days.” The Times

In commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the death of George Frideric Handel, and the 800th anniversary of the University of Cambridge, the first ever live cinema broadcast of a choral concert will take place from King’s College, Cambridge this Easter.

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge will perform Handel’s best known work, Messiah, on Palm Sunday, April 5 2009 in the magnificent setting of King’s College Chapel. The performance will be conducted by Stephen Cleobury, Director of Music at King’s, and features the Academy of Ancient Music and soloists Ailish Tynan, Alice Coote, Allan Clayton and Matthew Rose. It is part of the Easter at King’s festival of music and services, now in its fifth year.

This will be the first time a choral concert has been carried live via satellite. It will be shown in over 85 cinemas across Europe with US broadcasts, also on April 5, confirmed for around 50 screens to date and Canadian broadcasts scheduled in over 30 cinemas for April 11. EMI Classics will make the live concert recording available digitally on April 14, the actual anniversary of Handel’s death, and will release the physical CD later in the month.

Through an exclusive agreement with Opus Arte, EMI will also release the film of the concert on DVD in November 2009, in the run-up to Christmas, while additional cinema broadcasts are planned in the UK, other European countries, the United States (a 3D version will be shown as well) and Australia during the same period.

George Frideric Handel’s crowning masterpiece, his oratorio Messiah, was a hit at its premiere in April 1742 and remains among the most popular works in Western choral literature. A native of Germany, the composer lived in England from 1712, where he was considered one of the leading musical figures of his day. In 1741, the year in which he wrote Messiah, however, Handel found himself on the verge of bankruptcy, depressed and broken following the failure of several of his operas. In London it was even being said that his career as a composer was over.

Not so in Ireland, where the Lord Lieutenant and governors of three charitable organisations invited Handel to Dublin to conduct a performance of one of his works for charity. Having recently completed his oratorio Messiah, the composer decided to use the invitation as an opportunity to present this new work to the world. The premiere – at Neal’s Music Hall in Dublin in 1742 – was eagerly awaited by the Dublin public and the hall was sold out.

Handel based Messiah on a libretto by Charles Jennens that employs verses from the bible to present the life of Jesus. The work is in three sections: the Advent and Christmas; Christ’s passion; and the events told in the Revelation to St. John. While the composer intended the oratorio to be secular theatre, today Messiah is performed equally in churches and concert halls, by professionals and amateurs alike, usually during Lent (prior to Easter) or Advent (prior to Christmas).

“The first choral concert transmitted live to 85 cinemas, Stephen Cleobury's interpretation ticks all the boxes, with choir and orchestra impeccably balanced, and soloists glowing.” The Independent, 24th April 2009 ****

EMI - 2681562

(CD - 2 discs)

$20.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


Regis - RRC2081

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah


For a limited period all copies of the 2SACD set will include a bonus DVD featuring highlights from the performances and an interview with Sir Colin Davis. English only (no subtitles). A co-production by the BBC and LSO.

“Sir Colin Davis's way with Messiah, as recorded live at the Barbican last December, is old-fashioned by present-day standards. His soloists are all good. The Tenebrae Choir, with its thirty-odd voices, proves near ideal for a performance on this sort of scale, and their sheer neatness is a delight. One or two tempos may be on the slow side, but generally Davis motivates Handel's music with dynamism.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2007 ****

“[the soloists] make an excellent team, with clean, clear voices, well focused. Mark Padmore is outstanding as the tenor soloist, and Sara Mingaro is a fine, firm mezzo, not at all fruity, singing He was despised movingly at a steady tempo. She contrasts well with the soprano, Susan Gritton, in He shall feed his flock” Penguin Guide, 2010 ***

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

LSO Live - LSO0607

(SACD - 2 discs)

$19.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

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