RECORDINGS

LABEL: ONDA
CATALOG NUMBER: N/A
UPC NUMBER: 0630971000015
NUMBER OF DISCS: 2
RUNNING TIME: UNKNOWN
YEAR RECORDED: 1995
CD RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 15, 1996
CONDUCTOR: JEANNETTE SORRELL
ORCHESTRA: THE CLEVELAND BAROQUE ORCHESTRA
CHOIR: APOLLO'S SINGERS
SOPRANO: JULIANNE BAIRD, CHRISTINE BRANDES
COUNTERTENOR: STEVEN RICKARDS
TENOR: QUENTIN QUEREAU
BASS: DEAN ELY, MICHAEL MCMURRAY

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DISC ONE

1. Sinfony
2. Comfort ye my people
3. Every valley shall be exalted
4. And the glory of the Lord
5. Thus saith the Lord
6. But who may abide
7. And He shall purify
8. Behold, a virgin
9. Othou that tellest
10. For behold, darkness
11. The people that walked
12. For unto us a child is born
13. Pifa
14. There were shepherds
15. Glory to God
16. Rejoice greatly
17. Then shall the eyes
18. He shall feed his flock
19. His yoke is easy
20. Behold the Lamb of God
21. He was despised
22. Surely He hath borne our grief
23. And with His stripes we are healed
24. All we like sheep have gone astray
DISC TWO

1. All they that see Him
2. He trusted in God
3. Thou art gone up on high
4. The Lord gave the word
5. How beautiful are the feet
6. Why do nations rage so furiously?
7. Let us break their bonds asunder
8. He that dwelleth in heaven
9. Thou shalt break them
10. Hallelujah
11. I know my Redeemer liveth
12. Since by man came death
13. Behold, I tell you a mystery
14. The trumpet shall sound
15. Then shall be brought to pass
16. O death, where is thy sting?
17. But thanks to God
18. If God be for us
19. Worthy is the Lamb

SITE RATING:  6/10
SITE REVIEW:  A good "regional" recording of Messiah, most surprising to me was the knowledge that Cleveland boasts a Baroque orchestra, Apollo's Fire, who regularly record and perform.  This recording suffers from the ailment of most recordings of this type: taken from live performances, it suffers most from the omnipresent live atmosphere - there is definite distance between the choir and orchestra, and noticable audience noise present.  The other distraction is harder to quantify, other than to say that despite the group being very good for their city, and perhaps their region, on a larger scale this recording simply doesn't stand up well against other, starrier Messiahs.  The soloists, orchestra, choir, and director all have limitations in talent which are amplified when compared to Messiahs with greater firepower.  The conductor, Jeannette Sorrell, is boasted as being an early-music expert, but her reading seems strangly idiosyncratic, with more florid, languid moments and heavy strokes instead of the light, quick apporach I'd expect from a period instrument performance.  The soloists are varied in their abilities, with basses Dean Ely and Michael McMurray boasting impressive resonances, while counter-tenor Steven Rickards has an odd, ghostly tone which I found distracting, and not entirely pleasant.  Also important to note is the severe cuts which Sorrell made in the oratorio's second part, leaving this recording wanting for those desiring to hear the compete work.  An intriguing, but not wholly satisfying performance.

The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright © 2009 Bret D. Wheadon
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