HANDEL: Messiah (1751 Version) (Academy of Ancient Music/ Adrian Hunter/ Eamonn Dougan/ Edward Higginbottom/ Henry Jenkinson/ Iestyn Davies/ New College Choir/ Oxford/ Otta Jones/ Robert Brooks/ Toby Spence) (Naxos: 8.570131-32)
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This new recording of Handel's 'Messiah' presents the first modern recording of a re-construction of Handel's unique London performances of 'Messiah' in April and May 1751, when he used treble voices from the Chapel Royal for choruses and arias.
Similarly, just as Handel drew upon a chapel resource (the Chapel Royal) for his tenor and bass soloists, so Edward Higginbottom has drawn on his own New College Chapel resource (both Toby Spence and Eamonn Dougan are former clerks of New College Choir).
Together these attributes give the Choir of New College, Oxford/Academy of Ancient Music's Messiah a unique status and a unique coherence. It is both a celebration of the chapel choir tradition and window onto a particular time and place in the history of Handel's own performances of his masterpiece.
\This is a very special recording. Not only is it of quite outstanding quality both musically and dramatically, but, being sung entirely by male voices associated with a single institution (all the soloists are past or present members of New College Choir), it probably comes as close as modern conditions permit to a sound that Bach would have recognized." The Daily Telegraph"