Dunedin Consort, John Butt - Händel: Messiah (Dublin Version, 1742) (2006) Hi-Res
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Dunedin Consort, John Butt - Händel: Messiah (Dublin Version, 1742) (2006) Hi-Res

Artist: Dunedin Consort, John Butt
Title: Händel: Messiah (Dublin Version, 1742)
Year Of Release: 2006
Label: Linn Records
Genre: Classical, Choral
Quality: FLAC (tracks 24bit/88.2kHz) (d.booklet)
Total Time: 2:19:58
Total Size: 2.44 Gb
WebSite:

Tracklist:

01. Sinfonia 3:04
02. Recit: Comfort ye 3:16
03. Air: Every valley shall be exalted 3:09
04. Chorus: And the Glory of the Lord 2:55
05. Recit: Thus saith the Lord 1:17
06. Air: But who may abide 3:13
07. Chorus: And he shall purify 2:28
08. Recit: Behold a virgin shall conceive 0:19
09. Air: O thou that tellest good tidings 3:38
10. Chorus: O thou that tellest good tidings 1:32
11. Recit: For behold! 2:02
12. Air: The people that walked in darkness 3:27
13. Chorus: For unto us a child is born 3:48
14. Pifa (Pastoral Symphony) 2:46
15. Recit: There were shepherds 0:11
16. Recit: And lo! 0:16
17. Recit: And the angel said unto them 0:28
18. Recit: And suddenly 0:16
19. Chorus: Glory to God 1:54
20. Air: Rejoice greatly 6:19
21. Recit: Then shall the eyes of the blind 0:23
22. Air: He shall feed his flock 5:07
23. Chorus: His yoke is easy 2:18
24. Chorus: Behold the lamb of God 3:08
25. Air: He was despised 11:30
26. Chorus: Surely 1:46
27. (and with his stripes) 1:41
28. Chorus: All we like sheep 3:43
29. Recit: But Who may abide 0:25
30. Recit accomp: All they that see him 0:41
31. Chorus: He trusted in God 2:14
32. Recit accomp: Thy rebuke 1:51
33. Air: Behold and see 1:22
34. Recit accomp: He was cut off 0:16
35. Air: But thou didst not leave 2:12
36. Chorus: Lift up your heads 3:07
37. Recit: Unto which of the angels 0:17
38. Chorus: Let all the angels 1:26
39. Air: Thou art gone up 3:00
40. Chorus: The Lord gave the word 1:06
41. Soli & Chorus: How beautiful are the feet 3:35
42. Air: Why do the nations 1:27
43. Chorus: Let us break 1:48
44. Recit: He that dwelleth 0:21
45. Chorus: Hallelujah 4:02
46. Air: I know that my redeemer liveth 5:11
47. Soli & Chorus: Since by man 2:03
48. Recit. Accomp: Behold I tell you a mystery 0:36
49. Air: The trumpet shall sound 8:28
50. Recit: Then shall be brought 0:12
51. Duet: O death where is thy sting 0:59
52. Chorus: But thanks 2:08
53. Air: If God be for us 4:28
54. Chorus: Worthy is the lamb 3:18
55. Chorus: Amen 4:50
56. Recit: He that dwelleth in Heaven shall laugh them to scorn 0:11
57. Air: Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron 2:02

Why the Dublin version?

The challenge in this recording, has been to try and recapture something of the freshness of the first public performances of Messiah, imagining what it was like to hear the work for the very first time when many moments must have been quite unexpected. By analysing the lists of adult singers in the two cathedral choirs and subtracting the number who were likely to have been ordained (and thus excluded from secular performances) Donald Burrows has suggested that the original chorus probably consisted of no more than three or four voices to a part. This certainly allows us to capitalise on the existing strengths of the Dunedin Consort, which comprises singers who are equally adept at solo, ensemble and choral singing. We have thus been able to apportion the solo areas in more or less exactly the way Handel did (although we have slightly altered the way in which the two ‘cathedral’ altos are employed). We have also kept in mind the virtuoso origins of at least some of the choruses and the level of detail and expression that a smaller group of expert singers might be able to achieve.

The sequence of movements in the Dublin version also brings its own particular pacing: the alto versions of the final arias of Parts 1 and 3 create a more striking contrast between the increased mellow character of each aria and the respective final chorus. With the various cuts and abbreviations made towards the end of Part 2, there is, conversely, rather more momentum from the end of ‘How beautiful are the feet’ towards the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus. We have also borne in mind the division of each part into ‘scenes’, which is provided in the libretto for the London performances of 1743. Handel would, in all likelihood, have paced his oratorios in much the same way as he did for his operas.

The Dublin orchestra, expertly led by Matthew Dubourg, comprised only strings, two trumpets and timpani, although the exact size is unknown. Handel had his own organ transported to Ireland, according to a letter discovered by Burrows, so this was presumably used in the Messiah performances, perhaps by the composer himself (it is mentioned specifically for the new version of ‘How beautiful are the feet’); we assume that the harpsichord was used much of the time too.

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