Elin Manahan Thomas, soprano. Buxtehude and his Circle. This is the first complete recording of the version, heavily revised by Rameau to adapt Voltaire's allegorical drama for Versailles into a lyrical opera with greater public appeal. This time, Fred's proposal was accepted. Judith Van Wanroij, soprano; Amadis:
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This purchase was to replace two worn out LP sets and an oxide-ruined yr-old CD of the same recording. Being older now I no longer hear so much degradation from MP3 compression as I used to - but the performance is as fresh as when I first heard it in Not a concert, not an overpowering massive sound, not feeble, but pure joy, combined with skill and taste.
Something to listen to at natural volume level too! I've heard many performance of Handel's Messiah and this recording is by far the finest I've encountered. The balance between singing and instruments is outstanding, the soloists are fantastic, I love the pace and everything about it!
The only version which I feel comes close to this is the recording by Trevor Pinnock. I own both versions. In my mind this recording is the de facto standard which I use to measure all other performances of this piece. Another thing I love about this recording is the fact that Hogwood used Historically Informed Performance practices. After looking for a long time for the -according to my taste- perfect interpretation of one of Handel's most popular oratorios, finally my search was over with the discovery of this gem.
A sheer musical pleasure from beginning to end. My thanks to all those who made this masterpiece a reality. I love it and don't get tired of listening to it.
My first exposure to 'Messiah' came as a child through the Masterwork chorus rendition Pickwick International -- long out of print; directed by David Randolph with only an organ as accompaniment. I loved it but, then, it was a familiar friend.
Simply stated, Hogwood's 'Messiah' is the standard by which this work should be judged. The key to its greatness is twofold: All told, this performance has an extraordinary effect on both the intellect and emotions 'He Shall Purify' is my favorite selection; it's transcendental.
I only wish Handel could be resurrected to hear it. Then I decided to try something different. What a difference a day makes! It's a much gentler, more "feeling" performance of a great work. Beyond the quality of the performance itself which is without equal , there is the issue of the slightly modified rendition which differs from the version we have all come to know from those perennial Christmas season performances of "Messiah".
Other reviewers have already described the changes to the score used for this rendition, so I will not try to enumerate the differences. I will only say that the changes make the work more pleasant to listen to. This version of Handel's great work, the Messiah, is captivating. The recording, from , is a rare combination of absolutely sterling performances with a crisp clear sound that cannot be topped. Hogwood chooses just the right tempo for each piece and they flow together spectacularly.
A real highlight is tenor Paul Elliot. His amazingly clear tenor coupled with the boys choir make for a heavenly combination. In fact, the entire cast is superb. I have found recordings I have enjoyed in the past but every so often you get one that is way above everything else. This is in that league and I cannot recommend it more highly. IMHO, it has become a definitive version of this sparkling work! See all 88 reviews.
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