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Handel – Messiah
Dublin Version, 1742

Dunedin Consort & Players
Director John Butt

Susan Hamilton – soprano
Annie Gill, Clare Wilkinson – contraltos
Nicholas Mulroy – tenor
Matthew Brook - bass

Linn – CKD 285 [May 2006 – 140 mins]

And the Glory of Handel’s music shall be revealed  - I can only beg to justify this shameless misquote by the sheer quality of this recording which has deservedly been declared winner in Baroque Vocal category at the Classic FM Gramophone Awards 2007.

The choice of the “original” Dublin version proves to be an inspired one, with meticulous research and preparation playing a vital part in the success of the enterprise.  I won’t labour this point as it is described in detail on the Dunedin Consort website; suffice to say that they have fully realised their aim to recapture the freshness and originality of the early performances of a work which over time has become as familiar and comfortable as a favourite pair of slippers.

The relatively small forces employed result in an atmosphere of unusual intimacy.   The ‘chorus’, is exemplary and ensures that every word is clear and the whole work flows along with streamlined momentum.

The soloists are excellent, weighting the words of each passage to reflect the sentiment but without injecting any operatic histrionics to break the continuity of the whole.

One gets a sense that the greatest love and care has been devoted to each detail, with everyone involved truly delighting in the enterprise.

A glorious recording – very highly recommended.

Serena Fenwick