Alan Gilbert Conducts Handel's 'Messiah'

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. (Chris Lee)

Tune in Thursday at 9 pm to head the New York Philharmonic present Handel’s Messiah with Alan Gilbert conducting this annual sacred oratorio.

The performance features soprano Celena Shafer, mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby, tenorKurt Streit, bass Jonathan Lemalu and the Westminster Symphonic Choir.


HANDEL: Messiah

Conductor: Alan Gilbert

Celena Shafer, soprano
Nancy Maultsby, mezzo-soprano
Kurt Streit, tenor
Jonathan Lemalu, bass-baritone
Westminster Symphonic Choir


Comments [4]

Les from Miami, Florida

On the Philharmonic website, it said this performance was given on December 14,2004. There's always so much to look forward to in a "Messiah" performance. I don't think I've ever heard it uncut, however. In the reprint of the Crysander score of 1901, there are alternative (or successive) parts for soprano and bass and mezzo-soprano and bass and that's one editorial choice that's made that we listeners don't know about until sung. The strings, playing without vibrato, do yeoman service throughout: the sections were much smaller; and the trumpets and timpani are called upon only in the "Hallelujah Chorus" and "Worthy is the Lamb", as well as the trumpet solo, obviously, in "The Trumpet Shall Sound". In Part III, "Oh, Death, Where Is Thy Sting?" and "But Thanks Be To God" were cut. There were very a few very tasteful embellishments by the soloists usually at the end of their solos encompassing either broken chords and/or trills to finish the the final phrases. Well thought out and well executed, I thought. The chorus was impressive and exultant throughout, I thought, with full tone and pitch unflagging. I did find Alan Gilbert's choice of tempos for the "Sinfonia". the opening instrumental section, too fast for my taste...the marking is "Grave"...and this by necessity shortened the note values markedly until the "Allegro moderato" section was reached. Conversely, I was rather taken aback at the slow tempo for the concluding "Amen" chorus which was much slower than the tempo indication of "Allegro moderato". Whether these tempo indications were added by the publisher editor or not, I don't know. This was a performance with a high regard for what we know is historical accuracy, especially as regards the size of the orchestra and non-employment of vibrato; and while I wouldn't want to hear an accurate rendition with a chorus of 14 as I understand was on hand for the original, I'm also a fan of the Eugene Goossens enlargement of the orchestra (recorded by Sir Thomas Beecham and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus and soloists). I've never heard the Mozart arrangement; perhaps one day I will. This performance was carefully considered and very well-performed.

Dec. 25 2016 02:49 PM
Dr. Mark Terenzi from New Jersey

What a marvelous performance! The chorus was meticulously tuned as they sang softer and softer in "Since By Man Came Death" -- so difficult! And Mezzo Nancy Maultby's handling of those low passages in "O Thou That Tellest" was textbook perfect and sumptuousin tone. Presiding over it all, Maestro Gilbert directed a dramatic yet highly disciplined performance that sustained energy and musical interest throughout. Bravo!

Dr. Mark Terenzi
Director of Choral Activities
Kean University
Union, NJ

Dec. 22 2016 11:15 PM
Devar from nj

Press"play" for radio or "Holiday music" for continuous holiday music.Easy.

Dec. 22 2016 04:47 PM
patricia from on my computer

Now that I signed up how do I get the music to play?

Dec. 22 2016 03:24 PM

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