AN ENJOYABLE PERFORMANCE OF MESSIAH
Operaman! | Chicago, IL United States | 10/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There isn't much that can be added about Handel's Messiah on record. I've lost count of the number of recordings available, ranging from historically-accurate performances with reduced forces on historic instruments and in baroque tuning, all the way to overblown symphonic arrangements with 200-voice choirs and tympani and cymbals crashing during the Hallelujia chorus!
Somary's recording was released on LP in the 1970s and I always felt it filled a comfortable gap with a good sized chamber orchestra and chorus, excellent soloists with tasteful vocal ornamentation (for all of the soloists, not just for the soprano), a clean, clear acoustic, and the kind of dynamics and tempi that would be acceptable for both "period" music lovers and those wanting a more conventional performance. Now in its second CD reissue on Vanguard, I can wholly recommend it as a reasonable alternative to other Messiahs on CD, particularly to Colin Davis' classic Phillps recording. The original Vanguard LP was also produced in SQ Quadraphonic, and of course I wonder if Vangaurd would ever see fit to do an SACD version in the future. Until then, this performance is most enjoyable, and a bargain at that."