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Title - 'Handel Messiah' [2CD+DVD]
Artist - Apollo's Fire / Jeannette Sorrell

For those not in the classical know, The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra known as Apollo's Fire is a popular and critically acclaimed period-instrument ensemble specializing in early music based in Cleveland, Ohio.

The ensemble unites a select pool of early music specialists from throughout North America and Europe.

Jeannette Sorrell is an American conductor and harpsichordist and the founder and musical director of Apollo's Fire.

And so, Apollo's Fire and their founder/director Jeannette Sorrell now present a unique dramatic approach to Handel's Messiah; a 2CD+DVD exploring the work as theatrical entertainment.

CD 1:
1. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Sinfony
2. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Comfort ye
3. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Ev'ry valley
4. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. And the glory of the Lord
5. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Thus saith the Lord
6. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. But who may abide
7. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. And He shall purify
8. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Behold, a virgin shall conceive
9. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. O thou that tellest
10. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. For behold, darkness
11. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. The people that walked in darkness
12. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. For unto us a child is born
13. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Pifa
14. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. There were shepherds
15. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. And the angel said unto them
16. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. And suddenly
17. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Glory to God
18. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Rejoice greatly
19. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. Then shall the eyes of the blind
20. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd
21. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 1. His yoke is easy
22. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Behold the Lamb of God
23. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. He was despised
24. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Surely, He hath borne our griefs
25. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. And with His stripes
26. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. All we like sheep

CD 2:
1. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. All they that see Him
2. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. He trusted in God
3. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Thy rebuke hath broken His heart
4. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Behold, and see
5. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. He was cut off
6. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. But thou didst not leave
7. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Thou art gone up on high
8. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. The Lord gave the word
9. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. How beautiful are the feet
10. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Why do the nations
11. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Let us break their bonds
12. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. He that dwelleth in heaven
13. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Hallelujah
14. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. I know that my Redeemer liveth
15. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Since by man came death
16. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Behold, I tell you a mystery
17. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. The trumpet shall sound
18. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. Then shall be brought to pass
19. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. O Death, where is thy sting?
20. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. But thanks be to God
21. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 3. If God be for us
22. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: Part 2. Worthy is the Lamb

This is Apollo's Fire's second recording of Messiah. The earlier performance from 1996 is also worth having, yet this one conveys the joy and wonder of this work even more. Orchestra and choral forces work together in a way that isn't common even with this most recorded of oratorios.

The soloists are all first-rate: individual, beautiful voices that employ stylish ornamentation that is always in the service of the text. "Impassioned" is the word that best describes Apollo's Fire as a group in general and this recording in particular.

Jeanette Sorrell works with and through her forces to present a performance that entertains as much as it enlightens. The music never sits on the page, but comes alive in an exhilarating manner.

I'm not going to say this is the best Messiah ever - there are too many great ones for that. But it is certainly one of the most exciting and inspired.

My only caveat is that Sorrell still makes a few cuts in Part Two. This time around she includes the four tenor recitatives and arias that were cut in her previous performance, but still leaves out Lift up you heads and several other choruses.

A picky point to be sure and one that does not detract from the joyous music-making. If you buy only one Messiah this year, make it this one. You won't be disappointed.

So come celebrate the holiday season with a unique release of Handel Messiah on this wondrous 2CD+DVD set. Presenting a dramatic approach, exploring the work as the theatrical entertainment which Handel intended, Apollo's Fire and Sorrell have come together, as always, and brought with them one very organic and bold declaration.

CD Purchase Link

www.ApollosFire.org

www.AVIE-records.com





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