Sonoma Entertainment's 2014 release of Handel's Messiah in a gift tin is a bit of a mystery, considering that the only credit given is the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the lack of further information or even a libretto may make listeners question this recording's provenance. It is, however, a reissue of Walter Süsskind's 1958 recording, which has been recycled many times over the years on different labels and in different packaging. Featuring soprano April Cantello, contralto Helen Watts, tenor Wilfred Brown, and bass Roger Stalman, and the London Philharmonic Choir, this was a respectable version for its time, and it even included a harpsichord continuo, which was a rare thing indeed in Messiah recordings of the 1950s. But it was extremely reverent and in places stodgy, with slower than average tempos and a thickness of string textures that gives it added weight. While this is a workaday performance with only fair playing, it is adequate for getting acquainted with the oratorio and to begin an appreciation of the advances that have been made in Messiah scholarship since it was recorded.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2