Handel: Messiah (1754 Version) / Piau, Niquet, Le Concert Spirituel

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Why yet another Messiah? ‘I went through the different scores that exist and decided on the very interesting 1754 version, which features five soloists. You...
Why yet another Messiah? ‘I went through the different scores that exist and decided on the very interesting 1754 version, which features five soloists. You must remember that, when Handel arrived somewhere to perform his oratorio, he had soloists of varying standards available to him. So he quickly revised his score accordingly... All this is directly related to the reality of Handel’s situation as a concert promoter. In those days, to earn a living from his music, a composer absolutely had to get his works performed and make a profit on the evening. The idea of not retouching a work to avoid “spoiling” or “distorting” it is a much more modern one. There must be around a dozen versions of Messiah (I won’t list them all). The 1754 version is rarely played because it calls for five soloists: two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass... I’ve opted here for an operatic interpretation, taking its cue from the drama inherent in this account of the life of Christ.’ (Herve Niquet) This deluxe edition also includes a fascinating portrait of Herve Niquet, an interview organised around thirty keywords (from ‘Dance’ to ‘Nerves’) that sheds new light on one of the most atypical conductors on today’s musical scene.

This deluxe package presents the oratorio on two CDs, issued in a hardcover book that explains not only the background of Messiah, but also Niquet’s quasi-operatic interpretation, which emphasizes the spiritual drama of the work and removes it from the overly reverent tradition that prevailed from the 19th century until the 1980s. Highly recommended.

– All Music Guide


Product Description:


  • Release Date: November 17, 2017


  • UPC: 3760014193620


  • Catalog Number: Alpha362


  • Label: Alpha


  • Number of Discs: 2


  • Period: Baroque


  • Composer: George Frideric Handel


  • Conductor: Hervé Niquet


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Le Concert Spirituel


  • Performer: Andreas Wolf, Anthea Pichanick, Katherine Watson, Rupert Charlesworth, Sandrine Piau