HANDEL: Messiah (NTSC) (Alastair Miles/ Cornelia Kallisch/ Donna Brown/ Helmuth Rilling/ Roberto Sacca/ Stuttgart Gachinger Kantorei) (Arthaus Dvd: 101175)
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\I was particularly impressed by Cornelia Kallisch; her singing of ''He was despised'' is beautifully controlled and her declamation clear and affecting ... [Donna Brown's] light-textured voice, sometimes recalling the youthful Ameling, is ideal in this repertory. The bass Alastair Miles is the British member of the team and his contribution is a strong one. His vigorous account of ''Why do the nations so furiously rage together?'', complemented by Mozart's timpani, comes over fluently and with pleasing attention to detail. The choruses are mostly effectively sung by Rilling's Stuttgart Gachinger Kantorei consisting of some 50 or so voices-Mozart is believed to have had no more than 12 singers in his choir-and the orchestral playing is polished and alert."Gramophone on the original CD issue.
During the first London performance King George II is said to have been so moved by the "Hallelujah" chorus, that he rose from his seat, and the rest of the audience with him. The Messiah, Handel's best-known oratorio, is deemed to be the masterpiece of the genre and one of the main reasons that he became the most popular artistic figure in London's contemporary music scene.
Helmuth Rilling conducts Mozart's 1789 arrangement of that "Grand Musical Entertainment." According to Rilling, it is due to the details that this arrangement is so fascinating: dynamic changes, a different segmentation of solo and chorus parts, the instrumentation modulated to the tone characteristic of Mozart's time. "Actually", says Rilling, "this Messiah is a new work, more colourful, and very interesting!"