One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus



CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline

George Frideric HANDEL (1685 - 1759)
Messiah (1742) [142.19]
Rebekah Wilshire (soprano); Bethany Hodges (soprano); Janine Ullyette (soprano); Sarah Bleasdale (alto); Andrea Saposnik (alto); Robert Crowe (alto); Benjamin Brecher (tenor); James Martin (bass); Robert McLoud (bass)
The Trinity Choir and Orchestra/Owen Burdick
rec. 5, 11, 12 May 1996, Trinity Church, New York
NAXOS 8.554511-12 [76.32 + 65.47] 

Experience Classicsonline

Twenty-eight years after the first performance of Messiah, it received its New World premiere in New York in 1770 at Trinity Church. In 1996, the choir and orchestra of that same church recorded Messiah under the direction of Owen Burdick, the church's musical director. In 1997 Trinity Church celebrated the 300th anniversary of its founding, by charter from William III. Although this Naxos re-issue of the recording does not say so, I presume that this recording was made as part of those 300th anniversary celebrations.

The choir is a mixed one, with women sopranos and a blend of men and woman altos. There are a total of 21 singers with an orchestra of 19 playing on modern instruments. The particular quality of this recording arises not so much from the choir and orchestra as from the fact that the solo roles are spread between nine singers taken from the choir.

The opening notes of the overture define the feel of the performance. Burdick conducts a quiet, low-key opening with moderate speeds. It certainly does not try to ape period manners. In fact, for most of the work Burdick's speeds are rather moderate. At first I thought this over-moderation was simply Burdick's interpretation. But the performers are surrounded by a substantial acoustic halo from the building and I began to wonder whether the over-emphasis on moderation was to solve the problem of making the piece work in what is a pretty lively acoustic.

If you can stand the moderate, and sometimes slow speeds, then the choral singing is one of the best features of the disc. The choir make a beautiful focused sound, with a good clean line. I did however notice that there are places where Burdick encourages them to sing in a slightly stylised way. For instance in 'And with his stripes', the words 'And with his stripes' are sung marcato, followed by 'we are healed' done legato. This sort of over-pointing of the text/music tends to mar choral performance, especially when combined with the over-deliberate speeds in other movements.

The soloists are talented without ever being quite a match for the soloists on other discs. Tenor Benjamin Brecher sings all of the tenor solos. He has a slim, lyric voice that can turn reedy under pressure. This feeling that the soloists are talented and capable without ever being ideal rather hovers over the rest of the piece. Bethany Hodges has a bigger, richer voice than I would have liked for the opening soprano solos. And Sarah Bleasdale is quite light for 'He was despised'. In fact this piece was one where Burdick moved away from his moderation. He and Beasdale turn in a performance which is relatively fleet, in keeping with the lightness of Bleasdale's voice. Both James Martin and Robert McLoud have fine-grained bass voices and both turn in some lovely singing; but it was unfortunate that James Martin's pitch problems in 'The Trumpet shall sound' were not corrected in another take.

The orchestra provide lively accompaniment with some good crisp work, giving a fine chamber orchestra account of the piece without tipping towards period performance practice.

This is a charming, approachable and likeable performance which does not surpass the many other available versions. What makes it distinctive is the use of soloists from the choir. This is something which makes this a truly personal account, identifying it strongly with Trinity Church. This distinctiveness renders the performance a little outside the general run. I can't recommend this as any type of library version, but can certainly imagine people trying it out and finding in it a certain distinctive charm.

Robert Hugill

see also review by John Sheppard  



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.