George Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Helmuth Rilling - Der Messias

Published Tuesday 18th January 2005
George Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Helmuth Rilling - Der Messias
George Frideric Handel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Helmuth Rilling - Der Messias

STYLE: Classical
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
FORMAT: DVD Music video

This product is currently not available from Cross Rhythms Direct

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Some 48 years after Handel wrote 'The Messiah' Mozart was commissioned to produce a classical performance version to suit contemporary tastes. Mozart obliged by shortening the score and changing the accompaniment by adding more wind and brass instruments and dispensing with some of the strings. The end result is still, of course, Handel's 'Messiah' but is sufficiently Mozartian to be classified under the Köchel serial number as K 572. This recording comes from a performance given in the Evangelische Stadkirche, Ellwangen in 1991. It was performed by the Gächinger Kantorei and the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart under the direction of Helmuth Rilling, with the solo parts sung by Donna Brown, Cornelia Kallisch, Roberto Sacca and Alastair Miles. Rilling takes things relatively slowly and gets powerful and moving performances from all involved. The text is German but subtitles are available. Visually we get a good tour of the church building and see choir, orchestra and conductor from enough angles to keep our interest without too many sudden switches that can become distracting. The package is interesting and enjoyable but cannot be recommended as a first choice 'Messiah'. Mozart was a genius but, to this listener, he has failed to improve upon the original.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Leonardo in Madrid @ 15:12 on Sep 24 2006

The orchestration is like that of a draft score. You can't have woodwinds just doubling parts all the time and trumpets used sparingly. Mozart did real justice to this work, he really finished it

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