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Handel: Messiah / Cleobury, King's College Choir


Release Date: 06/02/2009 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 68156   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Allan ClaytonAlice CooteAilish TynanMatthew Rose
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College ChoirAcademy of Ancient Music
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

EMI's 2009 recording of Messiah with the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, led by Stephen Cleobury, marks three anniversaries: the 250th anniversary of Handel's death, the founding of the University of Cambridge 800 years ago, and the death 80 years ago of Arthur Henry Mann. The last two are significant because Mann, as early as 1894, had led the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, in the first "modern" performance of Messiah shorn of the gigantism that had begun to overtake the oratorio soon after the composer's death, with greatly expanded orchestration and the use of gargantuan choral forces. (One notorious Victorian performance included 3,500 performers, 3,000 in the chorus and an orchestra of 500.) Mann's attempts to Read more replicate the modest performing forces of Handel's time predated the ascendancy of the movement highlighting period performance practice by near three-quarters of a century.

Cleobury's reading of the score is modest and self-effacing, with no bells and whistles, letting the music speak for itself. The approach works beautifully -- this is not a version one would call spectacular in the brilliance of its soloists or in daring musical choices that prove revelatory -- but in all its particulars and as a whole, it sounds just, well...just right. Cleobury's tempos are always within the conventional range, but the deceptively simple but tricky relation of tempos between sections or movements feels absolutely natural and utterly convincing. The strong intuitive sense of organic unity that Cleobury provides makes this an especially satisfying performance. His soloists have unprepossessing voices, but they sing beautifully, with excellent intonation, technique, and tone, and they are expressive without being excessive. The Choir of King's College, made up of men and boys, performs with admirable vocal agility and the tone is exceptionally pure. The Academy of Ancient Music plays with grace and sensitivity, and the continuo part is realized with subtlety and inventiveness. EMI's sound is clean and intimate, and details of orchestration and voice-leading are easy to follow.

-- Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide
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Works on This Recording

1.
Messiah, HWV 56 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Allan Clayton (Tenor), Alice Coote (Mezzo Soprano), Ailish Tynan (Soprano),
Matthew Rose (Bass)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of Ancient Music
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741; London, England 

Sound Samples

Messiah HWV56: Sinfony (Grave - Allegro moderato)
Messiah HWV56: Sinfony (Grave - Allegro moderato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Comfort ye my people (tenor accompagnato: Larghetto e piano)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Comfort ye my people (tenor accompagnato: Larghetto e piano)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Ev'ry valley shall be exalted (tenor air: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Ev'ry valley shall be exalted (tenor air: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: And the glory of the Lord (chorus: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: And the glory of the Lord (chorus: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Thus saith the Lord (bass accompagnato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Thus saith the Lord (bass accompagnato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: But who may abide? (alto air: Larghetto - Prestissimo)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: But who may abide? (alto air: Larghetto - Prestissimo)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: And He shall purify (chorus)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: And He shall purify (chorus)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Behold! a virgin shall conceive (alto recitative)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: O thou that tellest (alto air: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: O thou that tellest (alto air: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: O thou that tellest (chorus)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: O thou that tellest (chorus)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (bass accompagnato: Andante larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (bass accompagnato: Andante larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: The people that walked in darkness (bass air: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: The people that walked in darkness (bass air: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: For unto us a child is born (chorus: Andante allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: For unto us a child is born (chorus: Andante allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Pifa (Pastoral Symphony: Larghetto e mezzo piano)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Pifa (Pastoral Symphony: Larghetto e mezzo piano)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: There were shepherds abiding in the field (soprano recitative)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: There were shepherds abiding in the field (soprano recitative)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Glory to God (chorus: Allegro, da lontano e un poco piano)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Glory to God (chorus: Allegro, da lontano e un poco piano)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (soprano air: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (soprano air: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Then shall the eyes of the blind (alto recitative)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: Then shall the eyes of the blind (alto recitative)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: He shall feed his flock ... Come unto Him all ye that labour (soprano & alto duet: Larghetto e piano)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: He shall feed his flock ... Come unto Him all ye that labour (soprano & alto duet: Larghetto e piano)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: His yoke is easy (chorus: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 1: His yoke is easy (chorus: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Behold the lamb of God (chorus: Largo)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Behold the lamb of God (chorus: Largo)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: He was despised (alto air: Largo)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: He was despised (alto air: Largo)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Surely he hath borne our griefs (chorus: Largo e staccato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Surely he hath borne our griefs (chorus: Largo e staccato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: And with his stripes (chorus: Alla breve, moderato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: And with his stripes (chorus: Alla breve, moderato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: All we like sheep (chorus: Allegro moderato - Adagio)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: All we like sheep (chorus: Allegro moderato - Adagio)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: All they that see him (tenor accompagnato: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: All they that see him (tenor accompagnato: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: He trusted in God (chorus: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: He trusted in God (chorus: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Thy rebuke hath broken his heart (tenor accompagnato: Largo)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Thy rebuke hath broken his heart (tenor accompagnato: Largo)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Behold, and see (tenor arioso: Largo e piano)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Behold, and see (tenor arioso: Largo e piano)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: He was cut off (tenor recitative)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: But Thou didst not leave (tenor air: Andante larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: But Thou didst not leave (tenor air: Andante larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Lift up your heads (chorus: A tempo ordinario)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Lift up your heads (chorus: A tempo ordinario)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Unto which of the angels (tenor recitative)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Let all the angels of God (chorus: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Let all the angels of God (chorus: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Thou art gone up on high (alto air: Allegro larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Thou art gone up on high (alto air: Allegro larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: The Lord gave the word (chorus: Andante allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: The Lord gave the word (chorus: Andante allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: How beautiful are the feet (soprano air: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: How beautiful are the feet (soprano air: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Their sound is gone out (chorus: A tempo ordinario)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Their sound is gone out (chorus: A tempo ordinario)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Why do the nations (bass air: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Why do the nations (bass air: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Let us break their bonds asunder (chorus: Allegro e staccato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Let us break their bonds asunder (chorus: Allegro e staccato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: He that dwelleth in Heaven (tenor recitative)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Thou shalt break them (tenor air: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Thou shalt break them (tenor air: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Hallelujah (chorus: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 2: Hallelujah (chorus: Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: I know that my Redeemer liveth (soprano air: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: I know that my Redeemer liveth (soprano air: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: Since by man came death (chorus: Grave - Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: Since by man came death (chorus: Grave - Allegro)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: Behold I tell you a mystery (bass accompagnato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: Behold I tell you a mystery (bass accompagnato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: The trumpet shall sound (bass air: Pomposo, ma non troppo)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: The trumpet shall sound (bass air: Pomposo, ma non troppo)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: Then shall be brought to pass (alto recitative)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: O death, where is thy sting (alto & tenor duet: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: O death, where is thy sting (alto & tenor duet: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: But thanks be to God (chorus: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: But thanks be to God (chorus: Andante)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: If God is for us (soprano air: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: If God is for us (soprano air: Larghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: Worthy is the lamb (chorus: Largo - Andante - Laghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: Worthy is the lamb (chorus: Largo - Andante - Laghetto)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: Amen (chorus: Allegro moderato)
Messiah HWV56, PART 3: Amen (chorus: Allegro moderato)

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