Handel: Messiah

Composer Georg Frideric Handel
Artist The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Brandenburg Consort
Roy Goodman consort leader
Stephen Cleobury conductor
Format 2 CD, DVD
Cat. number 94127
EAN code 5028421941271
Release March 2011

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About this release

The Messiah was written at great speed by Handel during the winter of 1741–2, and was received to great acclaim its first performance in Dublin in 1742. Charles Jennens compiled the text from the Bible, and the work is cast in three sections. Although a success in Dublin, the work had a less than warm welcome when it was performed in London without its title, and called ‘a New Sacred Oratorio’ to avoid causing offence to the rather puritanical British public and press.This ruse failed however, and the press were hostile. Jennens and Handel also fell out, as Jennens felt that the composer hadn’t taken enough time and care over the music! This was a low point for Handel, and he seriously contemplated leaving the UK and returning to Germany. Eventually, after a few years, and after a series of performances for charitable causes, the work became a firm favourite. It has been linked ever since with the composer’s generous charitable donations to the Foundling Hospital, of which he was a director along with William Hogarth and Thomas Coram.
Messiah is the masterpiece of the English Baroque, and for 200 years has been performed by both professional and amateur choirs around the world. Handel’s gift for truly memorable tunes and (notwithstanding Jennens’s concerns) the care he took in setting the text have ensured that it has remained one of the most famous works
ever composed.

Other information:
- John Mark Ainsley sings with remarkable spiritedness throughout, exhibiting an accomplishment and beauty of his articulation in his early numbers which afford constant repetition.’ Gramophone

- Unique set that includes also the DVD recording of this master piece by the same performers at a bargain price
- The Choir of King's College, Cambridge is one of the most famous choirs in the world, its performance has become a standard in this repertoire. The Choir owes its existence to King Henry VI, who envisaged the daily singing of services in his magnificent chapel
- A must have for all Handel lovers, the joyful Hallelujah included as well as The Trumpet shall Sound
- Downloadable sung text available on www.brilliantclassics.com

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Sinfonia (Ouverture)
  2. Recitative (Tenor): Comfort ye my people
  3. Air (Tenor): Ev'ry valley shall be exalted
  4. Chorus: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
  5. Recitative (Bass): Thus said the Lord of Hosts
  6. Air (Alto): But who may abide
  7. Chorus: And He shall purify
  8. Recitative (Alto): Behold, a virgin shall conceive
  9. Air (Alto & Chorus): O thou that tellest
  10. Recitative (Bass): For behold, darkness shall cover the earth
  11. Air (Bass): The people that walked in darkness
  12. Chorus: For unto us a Child is born
  13. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)
  14. Recitative (Soprano): There were shepherds
  15. Recitative (Soprano): And the angel said unto them
  16. Recitative (Soprano): And suddenly there was with the angel
  17. Chorus: Glory to God in the highest
  18. Air (Soprano): Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion
  19. Recitative (Alto): Then shall the eyes of the blind
  20. Duet (Alto & Soprano): He shall feed His flock
  21. Chorus: His yoke is easy
  22. Chorus: Behold, the Lamb of God
  23. Air (Tenor): He was despised and rejected of men

Disk 2

  1. Chorus: Surely He hath borne our griefs
  2. Chorus: And with His stripes we are healed
  3. Chorus: All we like sheep have gone astray
  4. Recitative (Tenor): All they that see Him
  5. Chorus: He trusted in God
  6. Recitative (Tenor): Thy rebuke hath broken His heart
  7. Air (Tenor): Behold, and see if there be any sorrow
  8. Recitative (Tenor): He was cut off out of the land
  9. Air (Soprano): But Thou didst not leave
  10. Chorus: Lift up your heads
  11. Recitative (Tenor): Unto which of the angels
  12. Chorus: Let all the angels of God worship Him
  13. Air (Alto): Thou art gone up on high
  14. Chorus: The Lord gave the word
  15. Air(Soprano): How beautiful are the feet
  16. Chorus: Their sound is gone out
  17. Air (Bass): Why do the nations?
  18. Chorus: Let us break their bonds asunder
  19. Recitative (Tenor): He that dwelleth in heaven
  20. Air (Tenor): Thou shalt break them
  21. Chorus: Hallelujah!
  22. Air (Soprano): I know that my Redeemer
  23. Chorus: Since by man came death
  24. Recitative (Bass): Behold, I tell you a mystery
  25. Air (Bass): The trumpet shall sound
  26. Recitative (Alto): Then shall be brought to pass
  27. Duet (Alto & Tenor): O death, where is thy sting?
  28. Chorus: But thanks be to God
  29. Air (Soprano): If God be for us
  30. Chorus: Worthy is the Lamb... Amen