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Handel: Messiah - Harnoncourt

Handel: Messiah - Harnoncourt

DHM  8287672039, BVCD-34030 (2 discs)

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal


Handel: Messiah

Christine Schafer (soprano)
Anna Larsson (mezzo soprano)
Michael Schade (tenor)
Gerald Finley (bass)
Concentus Musicus Wien
Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor)

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Review by John Broggio - December 3, 2006

This was recorded at the same time as Verdi: Messa da Requiem - Harnoncourt and in almost all respects the Verdi is more successful under the sober approach that Harnoncourt approaches many scores with these days. All too many parts of this marvellous score sound limpid and uninspired Baroque writing, which is tremendously disappointing.

Another big disappointment to me is the singing of Anna Larsson; she was clearly not in the best of vocal health when this was taped and at times her troubles are almost distressing. I think that if it were not for the recording taking place, Harnoncourt would have been allowed to field a replacement. Clearly SonyBMG had contractual rather than artistic considerations at the top of their priority list.

As many have observed, the Hallelujah chorus is not exactly a celebration - it is more "We are rather pleased" than all out joy. Not recommended, despite the good playing and contributions from the rest of the vocal team.

Having not yet had a chance to sample the Linn issue Handel: Messiah - Dunedin Consort, my current first choice on SACD is Handel: Messiah - Jacobs.

Copyright © 2006 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

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