Magazine article Gramophone

Handel

Magazine article Gramophone

Handel

Article excerpt

Handel

Messiah, HWV56

Lucy Crowe sop Tim Mead counterten

Andrew Staples ten Christopher Purves bass

Choir and Orchestra of Le Concert d'Astree / Emmanuelle Haim

Erato [B] [2] 2564 62405-5 036' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Emmanuelle Haim plumps for a neatly convenient four-soloist version presented in the main text of John Tobin's Barenreiter edition. This comes close to matching what Handel did in 1752, but more significantly means we get the best versions of the numbers for which variant settings exist. Therefore, Tim Mead gives an articulately shaded performance of the superior alto setting of 'But who may abide the day of his coming' (written for the castrato Guadagni in 1750), Lucy Crowe displays her brilliant semiquaver flourishes in the reset 'Rejoice greatly' that replaced the 6/8 jig version sometime in the mid-1740s, and we hear the chorus version of 'Their sound is gone out' (perhaps one of the measures Handel took to appease the disappointed librettist Charles Jennens in 1745). We also hear the duet version of 'He shall feed his flock', sung sweetly by Mead and Crowe, with its Corellian pastoral-style strings paced and weighted perfectly by Haim. She has also opted for longer versions of music Handel later abridged, such as the more extended thrills of 'Why do the nations rage so furiously together' (sung with perplexed inquisitiveness and suave authority by Christopher Purves, and with its basso continuo lines imaginatively detailed). …

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