Fulfilling all expectations for a historically informed performance on original instruments, Tafelmusik's period re-creation of George Frederick Handel's Messiah is among the finest on the market. Led by choral director Ivars Taurins, the award-winning Canadian ensemble is one of the most recognizable Baroque orchestras and chamber choirs in the world, and its excellent reputation is burnished by this 2011 performance, which radiates brillance and energy, along with an emotional depth that fully enhances the work's expression. The four vocal soloists are superb in their smooth tonal production and subtle phrasing, expert in the art of embellishment, and clear and easy to understand, despite the virtuosity of Handel's parts. Also outstanding in this regard is the choir, which is lean and limber, fully capable of handling the long streams of sixteenth notes while communicating every word. The orchestra is luminous in its string tone, and the crispness of the ensemble's playing brings across every rhythm and ornament with scintillating clarity. Even though this recording has been issued on two CDs, the reproduction is first-rate and quite as transparent and resonant as a super audio recording. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Part 1. Recitative. Behold, a virgin shall conceive / Air & Chorus. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
Part 1. Recitative. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened / Duet. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd
Track Listing - Disc 2