(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great bargain CD with excerpts from some familiar classics and some lesser known treasures. Many listeners, including myself, will want to own the complete performance of most of these works, but this CD is a good way to hear composers such as Lewandowski and Pergolesi, whose works may not already be a part of your music library. The opening movement of Vivaldi's Gloria as performed by the Atlanta Symphony and Chorus conducted by Robert Shaw is terrific. True to his reputation as one of the greatest choral conductors of all time, everything sounds just right under his baton. The other performances were not as highly distinguished in my humble opinion, but overall most of them were good, and many were excellent. For Handel's Messiah though, I highly recommend Sir Georg Solti conducting the Chicago Symphony and Chorus, starring Kiri Te Kanawa (once you hear the Solti version, most other Messiah performances don't feel as moving). And if you enjoyed this CD, you'll really love Kiri Te Kanawa's Ave Maria album.Overall, this compilation is a really great selection of powerful, serene, and uplifting music. Some of the other CD's in the 25 Favorites series are not very satisfying, but this one is a real winner!"
Religious Hit Parade
Christopher A. Lanter | Mesa, AZ United States | 04/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was torn between four and five stars for this album. In the end, it got five because of the inclusion of the two wonderful traditional Jewish songs - "Alvinu Malkeinu" and "Tzadik Katamar". They are the highlights of the disc for me (no, I'm not Jewish, but that doesn't matter) - and really, where else are you going to find this kind of music? This CD serves the same purpose as a sampler disc - enticing the listener to buy the full works - Handel's "Messiah", Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater", Faurè's Requiem Mass, and what have you. Believe it or not, I had never heard any of "Messiah" - not even the Hallelujah Chorus in its entirety - before I purchased this CD. Now I realize what I've been missing and checked it out from the local library. Ditto for the unearthly beauty of Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater" - check out the samples of "Stabat Mater Dolorosa" and "Quae Moerebat" if you don't believe me.The quality of the performers is excellent, and how can ANYONE pass up that price???? That is what ultimately clinched it at a solid five stars. I consider this CD one of my greatest finds - you will too."