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Richter: Handel – Der Messias (3 CD, APE)

Richter: Handel - Der Messias (3 CD, APE)
Richter: Handel - Der Messias (3 CD, APE)

Composer: Georg Friedrich Handel
Performer: Gundula Janowitz, Marga Hoeffgen, Ernst Haefliger, Franz Crass, Maurice Andre, Hedwig Bilgram, Elmar Schloter
Orchestra: Munchener Bach-Orchester
Conductor: Karl Richter
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 3
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 742 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

01. Symphony (Grave-Allegro Moderato)
02. Accopagnato (Tenor) Comfort Ye My People
03. Aria (Tenor ) Ev’ry Valley Shall Be Exalted
04. Chorus: And The Glory Of The Lord Shall Be Revealed
05. Accompagnato (Bass): Thus Saith The Lord Of Hosts
06. Aria (Bass): But Who May Abide The Day Of His Coming
07. Chorus: And He Shall Purify
08. Aria / Recitative (Contralto): Be Hold A Virgin Shall Be Conceive
09. Chorus:O Thou That Tellestgood Tidings
10. Accompagnato (Bass): For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover
11. Aria (Bass): The People That Walked In Darkness
12. Chorus: For Unto Us A Child Is Born
13. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony/ Hirtenmusik / Pastorale /Sinfonia Pastoral)
14. Recitative (Soprano): There Were Shepherds Abiding Inthe Fields
15. Chorus: Glory To God In The Highest
16. Aria (Soprano): Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter Of Zion
17. Deut / Recitative (Contralto): Then Shall The Eyes Of The Blind
18. Chorus: His Yoke Easy, His Burthen Is Light
19. Chorus: Behold The Lamb Of God
20. Aria (Contralto): He Was Despised
21. Chorus: Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs
22. Chorus: And With His Stripes We Are Healed
23. Chorus: All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray
24. Accompagnato (Tenor) : All They That See Him
25. Chorus: He Trusted In God
26. Accompagnato (Tenor): Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart
27. Arioso (Tenor) Behold, And See If There Be Any Sorrow
28. Aria / Accompagnato (Tenor): He Was Cut Off Out Of The Land
29. Chorus: Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates
30. Chorus / Recitative (Tenor): Unto Which Of The Angels
31. Aria (Contralto)Thou Are Gone Up On High
32. Chorus: The Lord Gave The Word
33. Aria (Soprano): How Beautiful Are The Feet
34. Arioso (Tenor): Their Sound Is Gone Out
35. Aria (Bass): Why Do The Nation So Furiously Rage
36. Chorus : Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder
37. Aria / Recitative (Tenor): He That Dwelleth In Heaven
38. Chorus: Hallelujah
39. Aria (Soprano): I Know That My Redeemer Liveth
40. Chorus: Since By Man Came Death
41. Aria / Accompagnato (Bass): Behold I Tell You A Mystery
42. Deut / Chorus / Recitative (Contralto): Then Shall Be Brought To Pass
43. Aria (Soprano): If God Be For Us
44. Chorus: Worthyis The Lamb That Was Slain
45. Chorus: Amen

Highly Recommendable (But Certainly NOT a First Choice) Messiah

First, right off the bat, this is not a first choice Messiah recording for anyone to honestly consider because it is in German versus the English that Handel “wrote” it in, and intended for it to be performed in.

There are many, many, recordings of this work, as you must already know, and a great many of them deserve a place on your shelves (if you are so inclined, I personally have over 35 recordings and “growing”). I refrain from even bringing them into this recording for ANY reason given that this one is in German and they are in the original English, I fail to see any reason to compare in any way whatsoever between them and this.

This recording, conducted by Karl Richter is a tad slow and deliberate, but in no way is it to be considered as a flaw here to this “performance” if you will.

Here you will find Gundula Janowitz at the peak of her truly wonderous powers, expressive and clearly caught during the recording. Her delivery is delightful to experience in the German language. Marga Hoffgen is a plus in that she is not the usual mezzo that we get on most recordings, but a true dyed-in-the-wool contralto, refreshing and notable for that. Ernst Haefliger (pianist Andreas Haefliger is his son) was an outstanding tenor, and his presence here on this recording is also one of its great assets, needing to be heard for his interpretation. Franz Crass also stands out here (as he seems always did in everything he sang) and should not be missed.

Richter was an outstanding musician, artist, and conductor, and his instincts nearly always proved correct or positive in everything he ever recorded, and surely performed (although I never had the chance to experience him in person) and this set with the Munich Bach Orchestra holds up very well, though not as lively as his English recording with the London Philharmonic. The choir/choral sections are not quite as crisp and light as on the London Philharmonic recording, and I would naturally assume that is because of Richter’s tempi here, and so, as I said above, a somewhat deliberate experience, but worthy of your listening time and money to procure a copy of it. The sound, otherwise, is simply wonderful and holds up well in its mastering here on this cd release.

So, not your first choice, but certainly to be considered for its captivating “differentness” in the German language and for Hoffgen’s contribution, that will surely please you and become a valued “alternative” for occasional listening, “a new experience” of an “old beloved work” by the greatest oratorio composer who ever put pen to paper.

Enjoy this, it is worthy!

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