A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 04/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ROUSING RECITATIVES AND OPULENT ORNAMENTATION CHARACTERISTIC OF THIS 'LIVE' PERFORMANCE FROM MAULBRONN MONESTERY: a most dynamic and highly emotional performance of 'The Messiah'. It astounded me from the very first note and captured my attention to the very end! When I can listen to a work and not think about specifics such as vocal deliveries, instrumental accompaniments, style of rendition etc. then I know that I am listening to a true musical masterpiece of composing and performing. From the very beginning I was lost in this POWERFULLY MOVING MUSICAL DRAMA. How appropriate for this to be rendered in a true theatrical style since Handel actually wrote it for the theater. It was like watching Mel Gibson's film 'Passion'; all painfully real and true.
It IS most important to note the premise upon which this particular version was performed.
A vital aspect of Jurgen Budday's interpretation of Handel's 'The Messiah' focuses on the work's DYNAMIC conception. By adding shifts in ensemble strength to the alternation of 'piano' and 'forte', Handel evokes an ample measure of contrast and colour. His dynamic indications in 'The Messiah' go beyond the usual 'forte', 'piano' and 'pianissimo' to include 'mezzo-piano' and 'un poco piano'. The Maulbronn interpretation takes this dynamic conception seriously and follows it to the letter. In addition, Handel composed varients of some of the arias to fit the occasion or circumstance. For this Maulbronn performance, those varients were chosen that Handel himself preferred.This all adds up to many more gradations of sound and intensity which makes for a more exciting rendition.
The soloists have added much more ornamentation, and they are absolutely excellent both technically and in emotional investment. Budday chooses to take faster tempos in some of the solo and choral selections, and much more attention is paid to the recitatives assigning to them the importance that they deserve. The soloists are: Miriam Allan (soprano)who sails effortlessly up and down the fast passages with a clean and flexible sound. 'Rejoice Greatly' effectively demos this abillity. Christopher Purves (bass) is wonderful with his vibrant and strong voice, especially in 'Why do the nations....'.Mark Le Brocq (tenor) impressed me throughout, but most strongly in his lament 'Thy rebuke has broken His heart'. It was so meaningful and full of pathos, I could have wept!!!But how FABULOUS to finally hear my favorite countertenor, Michael Chance, sing so compassionately 'He Was Despised'.
YES, in a way, this 'Messiah' is one of many, but I place it at the top of my list!!!!!"