Sunday, November 30, 2003

'Messiah' recordings span a wide spectrum

By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Choral directors' favorite Messiah recordings:

• John Deaver (Trinity Episcopal Church): Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus (Telarc; $25.98); and Trinity Choir and Orchestra, Owen Burdick conductor (Naxos; $12.98).

"What I learned from the liner notes, is the first performance of the Messiah in North America was at Trinity Wall Street Church in October, 1770."

• Thomas Juneau (Cincinnati Baroque): Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus (Telarc; $25.98); Great Choruses from Messiah, Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Chorale (RCA Red Seal; $11.98); John Eliot Gardiner, the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir (Philips; $50.98); Helmuth Rilling and the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra (Hanssler; $17.99); Andrew Parrott leading the Taverner Consort Choir and Players (EMI Records; $27.98); and Martin Pearlman, harpsichordist, leading the Boston Baroque Orchestra and Chorus (Telarc; $25.98).

"I'm a huge Robert Shaw fan. They are all very different. Where Shaw is fiery, Gardiner is elegant and smooth."

• Helmut Roehrig (Musica Sacra): Robert Shaw and the Robert Shaw Chorale (LP out of print; reissued in part on RCA Red Seal as Great Choruses from Messiah; $11.98); Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (Philips; $17.98); Nikolaus Harnoncourt leading the Vienna Concentus Musicus and the Stockholm Chamber Choir (Elektra/Asylum; $16.98).

"... I like some of the performances on period instruments, such as Harnoncourt. I get some of them from the library."

• Ethan Sperry (Miami University): Neville Marriner and the Academy of St.Martin-in-the-Fields (London Records; $14.99).

"It's my favorite bargain recording. ... The Robert Shaw ones and John Eliot Gardiner are terrific."

If you go

Saturday - Cincinnati May Festival's Carolfest. The sing-along includes two choruses from Handel's Messiah. May Festival Chorus and Youth Chorus; Cincinnati Boychoir; singers from Christ Emmanuel Christian Fellowship, Robert Porco, conductor; Venture Dancers, Otto M. Budig Academy; Heather MacPhail, organist; 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, Music Hall. Tickets: $10 adults; $5 children. 381-3300 or

Dec. 7 - Music at Trinity. Messiah, Part I. The Choir of Trinity Church, John A. Deaver, director and organist; Peggy Lietzenmayer, Elise Hyder, Kendall Moore and Karl Lietzenmayer, soloists. 7 p.m., Dec. 7, Trinity Episcopal Church, Covington. Free. (859) 431-1786.

Dec. 12 - Miami University. Selections from Handel's Messiah; Ravel, Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloe. Miami University Collegiate Chorale and Chamber Singers, Ethan Sperry, director; Miami Symphony Orchestra, Ricardo Averbach, director. 8 p.m., Hall Auditorium. Free. (513) 529-3014.

Dec. 12-14 - Cincinnati Baroque. Handel's Messiah (complete). Cincinnati Baroque Chorus and Orchestra, Thomas Juneau, director; Molly Quinn, Catherine Fishlock, Randy Umstead and Mischa Bouvier, soloists. 7 p.m. Friday, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Westwood; 7 p.m. Saturday, Memorial Hall, Over-the-Rhine; 3 p.m. Sunday, Good Shepherd Church, Kenwood. Tickets: $25 adult; $17 seniors; $5 students. 351-1615;

Dec. 14 - Musica Sacra. Chorus and Orchestra. Selections from Handel's Messiah; Vivaldi's Gloria. Helmut Roehrig, director. 4 p.m., Christ the King Church, Mount Lookout. Free. 385-5583.

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