Artist Academy of St Martin in the Fields / Choir of St Martin in the Fields / Neville Marriner / Elly Ameling / Philip Langridge / Anna Reynolds / Gwynne Howell
Genres Baroque Music, Oratorio Choral
Issue details Decca Records / 421.234-2 / Germany
There are so many recordings of this oratorio that it is really tedious to select the right one able to gather most of the qualities required to respect Händel’s soul.
Marriner recorded in 1976 a very optimistic Messiah with a very bright and light orchestra. His strings and chorus have never been sounding so pure in this partition. Elly Ameling is brillant same as most soloists. The only Anna Reynolds (alto) is sounding a bit tired with a tiny bit too much elastic vibrato. Anyway her singing remains decent.
Now, if you are not convinced about this version, just listen to the exploding « Alleluia » which is delightful without sounding bombastic like in so many old versions on modern instruments. Then listen to the 3 chorus #24, 25 and 26. « Surely he hath borne »: an English critic said that we can hear at last that « Su-re-ly » has got 3 syllables in English!
Last but not least, the Decca sound recording is really top.
A too much overlooked recording at its first issue which deserves to be rehabilitated.