The Messiah

The Messiah, by Georg Fredrick Händel, Conducted/Performed by Vienna Boys Choir  ★★, Solti/CSO★★★★★, Richter ★★★★, Marriner★★★★, Klemperer★★★★★, Higginbottom★★★, Davis★★★★, Bonynge★★★, Bernstein★★★★, Alldis★★★★. OK, that’s one lot of Messiahs to be listening to in the season. I omitted the “doctored” version of the Messiah by Mozart, who translated the Messiah into German. It doesn’t sound bad. The Messiah is a theatrical piece written by a person whose claim to fame was the writing of opera. Thus, rather than a church-type feel, this piece has an auditorium-type feel to it. The low rating of the Vienna Boys Choir has nothing to do with their technical skills, but only with their boyish voices, which doesn’t suit me well. The Higginbottom piece was on original instruments and did not sound bad at all, with a more chamber sound to the piece. In general, most of the pieces had minimal qualitative differences, though there were differences in the version of the Messiah that they chose to perform. My two favorites remain the Solti and Klemperer performances, which excel.
Note my comments on the Weihnachtsoratorium, which is also used as a Christmas concert piece, though rarely in the US. It is a pity since, though the Messiah is a work of genius, the Weihnachtsoratorium even excels the Messiah. Perhaps someday it will measure more prominently in American church performances.