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Messiah, oratorio (London 1741)

Les Arts Florissants, William Christie
2 CD

Perhaps no one has ever asserted so forcefully the victory of the spirit over death; no one has ever spoken with such firm tenderness of acceptance and gentleness. Handel’s message is addressed to mankind oppressed by the sorrows and complications of life. Everyone can understand it: it is simple, and it is written for everyone. Sometimes this simplicity is thrown back at him as a reproach; but it is the very core of his strength, permitting him to be listened to and loved by people who never attend a concert. Which should be every composer’s ambition’. (J.-F. Labie)

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Messiah, HWV 56
· Sinfonia (3'01)
· Recitative "Comfort ye, my people, saith your God" (tenor) (3'10)
· Air "Every valley shall be exalted" (tenor) (3'18)
· Chorus "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed" (2'40)
· Recitative "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts" (bass) (1'39)
· Air "But who may abide the day of His coming?" (alto) (4'37)
· Chorus "And He shall purify the sons of Levi" (2'16)
· Recitative "Behold, a virgin shall conceive" (alto)
Air "O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion" (alto)
Chorus "O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, arise" (5'56)
· Recitative "For behold, darkness shall cover the earth" (bass)
Air "The people that walked in darkness" (bass) (5'42)
· Chorus "For unto us a child is born" (3'38)
· Pastoral Symphony (2'54)
· Recitative "There were shepherds abiding in the field" (treble)
Recitative "And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them" (treble)
Recitative "And the angel said unto them: Fear not, for behold" (treble)
Chorus "Glory to God in the highest" (3'08)
· Air "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion" (soprano II) (4'25)
· Recitative "Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened" (soprano I)
Air "He shall feed His flock like a shepherd" (alto & soprano I) (5'59)
· Chorus "His yoke is easy, and His burthen is light" (2'17)
· Chorus "Behold the lamb of God" (2'19)
· Air "He was despised and rejected of men" (alto) (11'06)
· Chorus "Surely He hath borne our griefs"
Chorus "All we like sheep have gone astray" (7'18)

Messiah, HWV 56
· Recitative "All they that see Him laugh Him to scorn" (tenor)
Chorus "He trusted in God that He would deliver Him" (2'54)
· Recitative "Thy rebuke hath broken His heart" (tenor)
Air "Behold and see if there be any sorrow" (tenor)
Recitative "He was cut off out of the land of the living" (soprano I) (3'55)
· Air "But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell" (soprano I) (2'30)
· Chorus "Lift up your heads, O ye gates" (2'43)
· Recitative "Unto which of the angels said He at any time" (tenor)
Chorus "Let all the angels of God worship Him" (1'37)
· Air "Thou art gone up on high" (soprano II) (3'04)
· Chorus "The Lord gave the world" (1'14)
· Air "How beautiful are the feet of them" (soprano I) (2'32)
· Chorus "Their sound is gone out into all lands" (1'15)
· Air "Why do the nations so furiously rage together" (bass) (2'40)
· Chorus "Let us break their bonds asunder" (1'43)
· Recitative "He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn" (tenor)
Air "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron" (tenor) (2'12)
· Chorus "Hallelujah!" (3'20)
· Air "I know that my redeemer liveth" (soprano I) (6'11)
· Chorus "Since by man came death" (2'14)
· Recitative "Behold, I tell you a mystery" (bass)
Air "The trumpet shall sound" (bass) (9'17)
· Recitative "Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written" (alto)
Duet "O Death, where is thy sting?" (alto & tenor)
Chorus "But thanks be to God who giveth us the victory" (3'30)
· Air "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (soprano II) (4'51)
· Chorus "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" (3'28)
· Chorus "Amen" (3'18)

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