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Handel: Messiah / Erin Wall, Sop.; Elizabeth DeShong, Mez.; Andrew Staples, Ten.; John Relyea, Bass; Toronto SO, Davis

Notes & Reviews:

Experience the transcendent glory of Messiah in Sir Andrew Davis's new, majestic, must-hear edition of Handel's beloved classic. Recorded live, this unique version makes use of all the colors available from the modern symphony orchestra to underline the mood and meaning of the individual movements. Without detracting from the innate power of the original, the conductor's score calls for moments of drama, pathos, and even, sometimes, whimsicality. It is supported by substantial brass and woodwind forces, and several percussion instruments. As he explains in a very personal booklet note, this leading British conductor brings immense dedication to what is probably the most famous piece of British sacred music ever composed, this version being one which he has conducted live only a few times, including on this recording. He confesses: "Everything I have done instrumentally stems from the enormous respect, even awe, which I feel towards this supreme masterpiece".

The Times, 2nd December 2016
Davis has thrown every resource of the modern symphony orchestra at the task. The result is rather as if the Disney Corporation had bought the rights to the show...The Toronto Symphony Orchestra plays with terrific spirit, especially the brass, and there are four excellent soloists.

MusicWeb International, 13th December 2016
A performance I will return to often and with great pleasure.

David Smith, Presto Classical, 2nd December 2016
Davis's new orchestration of Messiah is either, depending on your point of view, an act of unpardonable musical blasphemy or a gloriously tongue-in-cheek tribute to a well-loved masterpiece...the overall effect is just of a lush, Romantic orchestration rather than of forced aural gimmickry.

Gramophone Magazine, January 2017
This is obviously not a basic 'Library ' Messiah but can be cautiously recommended as a curiosity for those enjoy arrangements and transcriptions.

BBC Music Magazine, January 2017
Astonishingly well controlled... the solo voices are rich and weighty... [the] flute provides a charming obbligato to 'How beautiful are the feet', while the tenor's 'Thy rebuke... ' is intensely moving... a remarkable choral achievement.


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