Jordi Savall / La Capella Reial de Catalunya / Le Concert des Nations

Georg Friderich Händel: Messiah

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AllMusic Review by

Jordi Savall's prolific output of recordings on Alia Vox is hard to pigeonhole because his expansive repertoire runs from some of the most obscure early music of the Old and New Worlds, to well-established classics like George Frederick Handel's Messiah. Recorded live at a December, 2017 concert in the Chapelle Royale du Chateau de Versailles, this performance of Messiah is based on the 1741 autograph score in the British Library in London, essentially re-creating the Dublin version, with restored oboe parts taken from the part-books for the 1754 Foundling Hospital version, and with four vocal soloists instead of Handel's original group of nine. Savall uses a small orchestra selected from Le Concert des Nations and his chamber chorus, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, to convey the scale of an early performance, as opposed to the more lavish post-Romantic arrangements with hundreds of musicians, which have become mainstays to modern audiences. Lean in its original orchestration, and particularly athletic in the choral writing, Messiah is shown to be an exciting combination of virtuosic counterpoint and dramatic scene painting, as well as a deeply compelling meditation on the life of Christ, without the excessive reverence of 19th century interpretations or the tasteless bombast of over-the-top modern re-orchestrations, such as those by Eugene Goossens or Andrew Davis. Anyone seeking a satisfying period interpretation of Messiah would do well to try this exceptional recording, which has clearly been a labor of love as well as a well-researched scholarly effort.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Messiah An Oratorio HWV 56
1 03:03 Amazon
2 02:57 Amazon
3 03:24 Amazon
4 02:48 Amazon
5 01:27 Amazon
6 04:23 Amazon
7 02:32 Amazon
8 00:24 Amazon
9 05:20 Amazon
10 02:18 Amazon
11 03:07 Amazon
12 04:15 Amazon
13 02:37 Amazon
14 00:41 Amazon
15 00:32 Amazon
16 00:19 Amazon
17 02:15 Amazon
18 04:07 Amazon
19 00:26 Amazon
20 04:47 Amazon
21 02:31 Amazon
22 03:30 Amazon
23 09:54 Amazon
24 01:47 Amazon
25 01:38 Amazon
26 04:23 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Messiah An Oratorio HWV 56
1 00:47 Amazon
2 02:28 Amazon
3 02:08 Amazon
4 01:24 Amazon
5 00:18 Amazon
6 02:20 Amazon
7 03:14 Amazon
8 00:25 Amazon
9 01:30 Amazon
10 03:06 Amazon
11 01:10 Amazon
12 02:17 Amazon
13 01:25 Amazon
14 02:54 Amazon
15 01:41 Amazon
16 00:15 Amazon
17 01:59 Amazon
18 03:50 Amazon
19 06:30 Amazon
20 02:29 Amazon
21 00:32 Amazon
22 09:04 Amazon
23 00:16 Amazon
24 00:58 Amazon
25 02:16 Amazon
26 05:10 Amazon
27 07:46 Amazon
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