In Deed a "Dream" Messiah, Except...
CalCruisin | California | 05/22/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"With one glaring exception, this "Dream Cast" recording is an excellent collection of highlights from Handel's Messiah, containing both modern- and period-instrument recordings. The performances of the "dream team" soloists are excellent, and not just the women, but also the men. For the female voices, I particularly enjoyed: Arleen Auger (I know that my Redeemer liveth), Anne Sofie von Otter (O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion) and Leontyne Price (He shall feed his flock), with Joan Sutherland also good (Rejoice greatly o daughter of Zion), but Kiri Te Kanawa (There were sheperds abiding) perhaps seeming disaffected. For the male voices it was great from start to finish with Anthony Rolfe-Johnson (Comfort ye my people), Jerry Hadley (Every valley shall be exalted), Charles Daniels (Behold and see) and Robert Hale (The trumpet shall sound), but with Bryn Terfel (Why do the nations) perhaps seeming light.
The one exception? For Unto Us a Child is Born sung at high speed. Les Musiciens de Louvre (whoever they are) sound like chipmunks singing at the old LP 78 speed. They seem in a race to see who can finish singing first, without any meaning or phrasing, like juveniles in a race thru' their rosary beads. This is a shame, because next to the Hallelujah chorus, this is the most important part of the Messiah.
The orchestral playing by the English Baroque with Gardiner, the English Consort with Trevor Pinnock, and the Gabrieli Players with McCreesh was outstanding. I especially liked the clear trumpet playing of the Gabrieli with Hale singing "The trumpet shall sound." I also enjoyed the Hallelujah chorus by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Neville Marriner. Altho' I usually like a modern, massed-strings sound, this smaller ensemble under Marriner was very pleasing to my ears. And given my bias I liked the performances of the large symphony orchestras under Solti and Davis too.
So this is in deed a "dream" collection, except for the French chipmnunks on the second most important part of the Messiah."
Good for the soloist singer set....
H. Johns | USA | 12/20/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've been living with this CD for a few days now and while I think it's a valuable addition, I wouldn't use it even as a primary 'highlights' cd. (For that you're better off with the highlights CD featuring John Shirley-Quirk, Felicity Palmer, Raymond Leppard, English Chamber Orchestra, and Felicity Palmer (Audio CD - 2003)- ASIN: B00006L9RR).
It's best to use this as a soloist review cd. If you're singing one of the solo parts, use it as a guide for phrasing/pacing except as noted below.
Other: The decca recording transfers are very good and help keep this at 3 stars.
"The trumpet shall sound" cut is quite good, nice tempo, one weak note on the entrance to the chorus repeat holds it back slightly.
* "For unto us a child is born" must have been sung while the Kentucky Derby was on...WAY too fast. This sounds more ridiculous on repeated hearings."
K. Nickodemus | Ann Arbor, MI | 05/20/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This recording is missing "And the Glory of the Lord" !! How can that be? I agree with the others that "For Unto Us a Child is Born" is fast, but it certainly doesn't sound like the Chipmunks. It's been performed fast by others in the past. Conductor's discretion.
Best part for me? Robert Hale on tracks #19 and #20. I knew him when I was a little girl -- my mother would accompany him.......long time ago but the strength in his voice still stirs something inside me. These tracks alone make the CD worth it for me."