Jörg Breiding / Hannover Boys Choir / Jan Kobow / Siri Karoline Thornhill / Martin Wolfel

Handel: Messiah

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

For what is ostensibly a period performance of George Frederick Handel's Messiah, Jörg Breiding's 2002 presentation is remarkably straightforward and unpretentious, with no outward trappings of "authenticity" to alert the buying public. The score of Messiah used here appears to be a modern standardized edition, not one of the scholarly editions of Handel's variant versions, though the music is suitably ornamented in Baroque style by the solo vocalists and played with 18th century instruments or modern replicas. Furthermore, the use of men and boys and a small instrumental ensemble matches the practice Handel preferred for his London performances, so there's nothing unorthodox or novel attempted here. Perhaps the only thing that might stand out as an unusual feature of this performance is the labored pronunciation of English words by the German singers, where their vowels are exaggerated out of an excess of correctness that leads to mistakes that a decent coach would have caught. But the quality of singing is generally spot-on in intonation, clean in line, and crisp in enunciation, and the blend of the Knabenchor Hannover is quite smooth and even. The sonorities of the Baroque orchestra L'Arco are bright and fresh, and the variety of tone colors and characteristic sheen of the strings make this sound quite as good as many other historically informed recordings of this work. Ars Musici's live reproduction is clean and picks up everything, even a few coughs from the audience.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Messiah, HWV 56
1 03:19 Amazon
2 02:53 Amazon
3 03:28 Amazon
4 03:06 Amazon
5 01:34 Amazon
6 04:33 Amazon
7 02:58 Amazon
8 00:21 Amazon
9 03:46 Amazon
10 01:42 Amazon
11 01:55 Amazon
12 03:52 Amazon
13 04:29 Amazon
14 02:34 Amazon
15 01:23 Amazon
16 02:04 Amazon
17 04:26 Amazon
18 00:26 Amazon
19 05:15 Amazon
20 02:53 Amazon
21 03:02 Amazon
22 09:26 Amazon
23 01:55 Amazon
24 01:45 Amazon
25 04:18 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Messiah, HWV 56
1 00:42 Amazon
2 02:33 Amazon
3 01:46 Amazon
4 01:27 Amazon
5 00:18 Amazon
6 02:10 Amazon
7 03:19 Amazon
8 00:18 Amazon
9 01:35 Amazon
10 03:29 Amazon
11 01:13 Amazon
12 02:08 Amazon
13 01:28 Amazon
14 03:01 Amazon
15 01:53 Amazon
16 00:15 Amazon
17 02:09 Amazon
18 04:05 Amazon
19 05:32 Amazon
20 02:04 Amazon
21 00:35 Amazon
22 09:07 Amazon
23 00:16 Amazon
24 01:05 Amazon
25 02:10 Amazon
26 04:50 Amazon
27 03:28 Amazon
28 03:46 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick