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Great performance and great sound quality.
Beecham's Messiah refurbished, wearing extremely well in High Res !
I recall the elegant luxury built into the old golden age of stereo vinyl issue of Beecham's Messiah. The velvety box and other upscale acountrements have long faded; but this refurbishment of the recording in High Resolution audio is long welcome. Firstly this is hardly any sort of traditionalistic or historically informed performance. Sir Malcolm Sargent was said to have been asked by Beecham to re-orchestrate Handel's score, and he did. Others have taken on such tasks, most notably Mozart ... but Sargent's way with the post-Romantic Era orchestra of his time holds up remarkably well. A lot has to be credited to Beecham's special brand of musical vitality, already known from several other of the conductor's discography that has also held up through decades of sea changes in recording technology and playback. Soloists are singing on a fine vocal edge between oratorio and opera: Vivyan Sinclair soprano, Alfreda Hodgson alto, an unsurpassable Jon Vickers tenor, and Tito Gobbi baritone-bass in his prime. The Beecham Choral Society is a large chorus; their singing is accurate, rhythmically spot on, and sweeps away HIP considerations despite the latest recording trends. Of all the golden age stereo recordings of Messiah, this surely ends up being one of the most musically persuasive. My only complaint is that some of the numbers from the complete score - valiantly included at Beecham's behest in an era when cuts were often the norm for concert performances as well as recordings - get put into an appendix. Just to enjoy it all even more, I confess I copied the appendix music into its original sequence in Handel's marvelous full score. The DSD 128 sound is splendid. You'd never know that this was done in the 1960's .... nearly sixty years ago. Yes I'm not giving up on my other Messiah recordings on the overflowing favorite shelves; nevertheless it is a deep musical pleasure to welcome this Soria Series treasure back, luxuriating in high resolution remastering. Bravos ... all 'round !!!
Handel through Beecham coloured spectacles
I am a fan of historically informed period performances. For me, they have opened up a whole new perspective on baroque and classical music. I already have three HIPP recordings of Messiah, those conducted by Pinnock, Hogwood and Butt, as well Mizart's orchestration conducted by Mackerras. So I was a bit sceptical about this Goossens/Beecham effort. I shouldn't have been. The Mozart version sets a very honourable precedent for this sort of undertaking. It is futile to argue that this is the way Handel would have written if he had had access to a 20th century orchestra. It has to succeed on its own terms and, by and large, it does. There are some jarring moments initially with the fuller harmonies and the greatly expanded percussion but I quickly adjusted to them. The one-time I felt it went too far was the Hallelujah chorus, but that aside, this is a full-blown superb performance. The singing of the soloists is magnificent, especially Jon Vickers, of whom I long been a fan. The chorus is a great match for the soloists. The whole performance is brilliantly conducted by Beecham with plenty of energy and ensures what could easily be a travesty is a triumph.
Love it or hate it, the Beecham recording is quite unique: spectacular, dramatic yet poetic at times, involving and colorful. Beecham is a passionate champion of Handel's masterpiece and unafraid of imposing his own stamp and originality whlie respecting the spirit of the work. Purists beware. The choral and vocal contributions are distinguished, especially the vibrant, powerful, moving even heroic Jon Vickers,perhaps the grandest tenor to have recorded this part.
This Messiah is not a normal performance.
This Messiah is not a normal performance. Beecham asked a friend composer, Goossens, to arrange "If Handel would have made it alive," this arrangement. This performance, unlike a regular Messiah, is performed loudly by a full orchestra, including brass instruments and percussion instruments, but it is a very well arranged arrangement with no sense of incongruity. The orchestra, choir and soloist are great. The sound quality has been significantly improved compared to CDs and records released in the past.
Title: George Frideric Handel - Messiah
Artist(s): Conductor – Sir Thomas Beecham, Bart, C.H.
Chorus – Royal Philharmonic Chorus
Orchestra – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Chorus Master – John McCarthy
Bass Vocals – Giorgio Tozzi
Contralto Vocals – Monica Sinclair
Soprano Vocals – Jennifer Vyvyan
Tenor Vocals – Jon Vickers
Recording Info: Recorded by RCA
Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson & Alan Reeve
Producer: Michael Williamson
Recorded June and July of 1959 at
Walthamstow Assembly Hall
TO DOWNLOAD FULL ALBUMS ON SOME FORMATS YOU HAVE TO PURCHASE MULTIPLE PART DOWNLOADS
1-1 Overture 4:47
1-2 Recit: Comfort Ye, My People (Tenor) 3:38
1-3 Air: Every Valley Shall Be Exalted (Tenor) 3:32
1-4 Chorus: And The Glory Of The Lord 3:36
1-5 Recit: Thus Saith The Lord Of Hosts (Bass) 1:52
1-6 Air: But Who May Abide (Bass) 5:01
1-7 Chorus: And He Shall Purify 3:11
1-8 Recit: Behold, A Virgin Shall Conceive (Contralto) 0:43
1-9 Air & Chorus: O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings (Contralto) 7:22
1-10 Recit: For, Behold, Darkness Shall Cover (Bass) 2:59
1-11 Air: The People That Walked In Darkness (Bass) 4:51
1-12 Chorus: For Unto Us A Child Is Born 4:49
1-13 Pastoral Symphony 4:37
1-14 Recit: There Were Shepherds Abiding (Soprano) 0:59
1-15 Recit: And The Angel Said Unto Them (Soprano) 0:53
1-16 Recit: And Suddenly There Was (Soprano) 0:21
1-17 Chorus: Glory To God In The Highest 2:17
1-18 Air: Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter (Soprano) 4:32
1-19 Recit: Then Shall The Eyes (Contralto) 0:31
1-20 Air: He Shall Feed His Flock; Come Unto Him (Contralto & Soprano) 6:12
1-21 Chorus: His Yoke Is Easy 3:03
2-1 Chorus: Behold The Lamb Of God 4:08
2-2 Air: He Was Despised (Contralto) 6:02
2-3 Chorus: Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs 2:59
2-4 Chorus: And With His Stripes We Are Healed 2:21
2-5 Chorus: All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray 4:02
2-6 Recit: All They That See Him (Tenor) 0:53
2-7 Chorus: He Trusted In God 2:24
2-8 Recit: Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart (Tenor) 2:39
2-9 Air: Behold, And See If There Be (Tenor) 2:03
2-10 Recit: He Was Cut Off Out Of The Land (Tenor) 0:26
2-11 Air: But Thou Didst Not Leave (Tenor) 3:22
2-12 Chorus: Lift Up Your Heads 3:13
2-13 Air: How Beautiful Are The Feet (Soprano) 3:05
2-14 Chorus: Their Sound Is Gone Out Into All Lands 1:43
2-15 Air: Why Do The Nations So Furiously Rage (Bass) 2:53
2-16 Chorus: Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder 1:49
2-17 Recit: He That Dwelleth In Heaven (Tenor) 0:22
2-18 Air: Thou Shalt Break Them (Tenor) 2:10
2-19 Chorus: Hallelujah 3:32
2-20 Air: I Know That My Redeemer Livith (Soprano) 7:43
2-21 Chorus: Since By Man Came Death 2:30
2-22 Recit: Behold, I Tell You A Mystery (Bass) 0:42
2-23 Air: The Trumpet Shall Sound (Bass) 4:20
2-24 Chorus: Worthy Is The Lamb 7:52
From Part II
3-1 Recit: Unto Which Of The Angels (Tenor) 0:26
3-2 Chorus: Let All The Angels Of God Worship Him 1:37
3-3 Air: Thou Art Gone Up On High (Bass) 3:59
3-4 Chorus: The Lord Gave The Word 1:12
From Part III
3-5 Recit: Then Shall Be Brought To Pass (Contralto) 0:21
3-6 Duet: O Death, Where Is Thy Sting (Contralto & Tenor) 1:24
3-7 Chorus: But Thanks Be To God 2:22
3-8 Air: If God Be For Us (Soprano) 5:35