Why yet another Messiah? ‘I went through the different scores that exist and decided on the very interesting 1754 version, which features five soloists. You must remember that, when Handel arrived somewhere to perform his oratorio, he had soloists of varying standards available to him. So he quickly revised his score accordingly... All this is directly related to the reality of Handel’s situation as a concert promoter. In those days, to earn a living from his music, a composer absolutely had to get his works performed and make a profit on the evening. The idea of not retouching a work to avoid “spoiling” or “distorting” it is a much more modern one. There must be around a dozen versions of Messiah (I won’t list them all). The 1754 versionRead more is rarely played because it calls for five soloists: two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass... I’ve opted here for an operatic interpretation, taking its cue from the drama inherent in this account of the life of Christ.’ (Herve Niquet) This deluxe edition also includes a fascinating portrait of Herve Niquet, an interview organised around thirty keywords (from ‘Dance’ to ‘Nerves’) that sheds new light on one of the most atypical conductors on today’s musical scene.
This deluxe package presents the oratorio on two CDs, issued in a hardcover book that explains not only the background of Messiah, but also Niquet’s quasi-operatic interpretation, which emphasizes the spiritual drama of the work and removes it from the overly reverent tradition that prevailed from the 19th century until the 1980s. Highly recommended.
Messiah, HWV 56by George Frideric Handel Performer:
Andreas Wolf (Bass),
Anthea Pichanick (Voice),
Katherine Watson (Soprano),
Sandrine Piau (Soprano),
Rupert Charlesworth (Tenor)
Le Concert Spirituel
Period: Baroque Written: 1741; London, England
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Bright and bouncyNovember 19, 2017By Dean Frey See All My Reviews"Hervé Niquet has opted to record the 1754 version of Messiah, which has five soloists rather than four. I know this version well because of the now classic 1991 recording by Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music, which featured the divine Emma Kirkby. We had that on cassette, so it was the soundtrack (along with Yogi Yorgesson's I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas - the kids were little!) for many a holiday trip in Alberta's cold Decembers. However, that's not the key to this new version by Le Concert Spirituel under the direction of Hervé Niquet. Rather, it's his statement that "Ive opted here for an operatic interpretation, taking its cue from the drama inherent in this account of the life of Christ." Niquet plays up the drama throughout, and he has the players and singers to follow through on all of his concepts. I think nearly every idea is at least plausible. It's a brisk run-through, as you can hear right from the opening Sinfonia. But this is about more than just tempo. Niquet's version is positively bouncy; if it were in the Hundred Acre Wood it would be Tigger. As far as I'm concerned that's great; I've heard too many Eeyore Messiahs."Report Abuse