- Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56
Handel: Messiahby Kiri Te Kanawa
Handel's Messiah is the best-known and best-loved choral work ever composed -- not bad for a few weeks' work. Handel wrote his oratorio in less than a month, working at white heat, according to his own account, hardly stopping to eat or sleep. And with one memorable aria and chorus after another, the Messiah has been one of the most popular works in the classical repertory almost since its first performance. Attitudes toward the performance of Baroque music changed dramatically through the 20th century, though, and the dozens of Messiah recordings reflect a broad range of approaches -- from choral and orchestral extravaganzas to pared-down "authentic" versions. Sir Georg Solti's is brisk and bold and unabashedly traditional, but the vigorous tempos and clear textures show that the conductor also took a lesson or two from authentic performance advocates. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's crystalline soprano is beautifully pure in arias like "Come unto Him, All Ye That Labour," while Keith Lewis's robust tenor is especially forceful in "Ev'ry Valley Shall Be Exalted." Bass Gwynne Howell attacks the aria "Why Do the Nations So Furiously Rage?" with Verdian theatricality, and the "Hallelujah Chorus" is spectacularly spacious and thrillingly joyous. Sir John Eliot Gardiner's extraordinarily beautiful recording is the standout among historically minded performances, but those who like their Handel big and brawny will likely find this operatically scaled version irresistible.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsKiri Te Kanawa Primary Artist
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This is the best version of ''Messiah'' I have heard. Solti's rendition seems-to me- to have the right tempos throughout. I feel that some versions (such as Marriner's) include tracks where the tempo is to slow and nowhere near as lively as Solti's ''For Unto Us...'', and ''And The Glory Of The Lord''! In addition, I am a huge Kiri Te Kazawa fan...her singing is angelic and flawless. Solti's ''Messiah'' is top notch!
Solti and the CSO give a stirring performance. The chorus is breathtaking and is surprisingly articulate for such a large chorus. This recording is classic CSO: grand, powerful and dynamic. If you're looking for an authentic performance, this is not for you, but if you want one that will fill you and move you with the music and choruses, this is the one!