Cover QCD 9301 SONGS

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9311-2 - MESSIAH

Mona Julsrud - sopran
Tuva Semmingsen - alt
Paul Agnew - tenor
Njål Sparbo - bass

Carl Høgset - dirigent
Knut Johannessen -cembalo

Oslo Barokkorkster
Grex Vocalis

Produsent: Arild Erikstad
Digital Redigering: Victor Engholmen, Carl Høgset, Njål Sparbo
Opptak: Terje Hellem, Elisabeth Sommernes
Liveopptak fra Ris kirke i Oslo, 7. og 8. desember 1996
Cover: Bente Elisabeth Finserås
Utgitt med tillatelse fra NRK av Quattro AS, Oslo, Norge


1  Sinfony
2  Comfort ye, my people
3  Evíry valley shall be exalted
4  And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
5  Thus saith the Lord of Hosts
6  But who may abide the day of his coming
7  And he shall purify
8  Behold, a virgin shall conceive
9  O thou that tellest good tidings
10  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth
11  The people that walked in darkness
12  For unto us a Child is born
13  Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)
14  There were shepherds abiding in the field
15  And the angel said unto them
16  And suddenly there was with the angel
17  Glory to God in the highest
18  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion
19  Then shall the eyes of the blind
20  He shall feed his flock
21  His yoke is easy, and his burthen is light


22  Behold the Lamb of God
23  He was despised
24  Surely, he hath borne our griefs
25  And with his stripes we are healed
26  All we like sheep have gone astray
27  All they that see him
28  He trusted in God
29  Thy rebuke hath broken his heart
30  Behold, and see if there be any sorrow
31  He was cut off out of the land
32  But Thou didst not leave his soul
33  Lift up your heads, O ye gates
34  Unto which of the angels
35  Let all the angels of God worship him
36  Thou art gone up on high
37  The Lord gave the word
38  How beautiful are the feet
39  Their sound is gone out
40  Why do the nations so furiously rage
41  Let us break their bonds asunder
42  He that dwelleth in heaven
43  Thou shalt break them
44  Hallelujah


45  I know that my Redeemer liveth
46  Since by man came death
47  Behold, I tell you a mystery
48  The trumpet shall sound
49  Then shall be brought to pass
50  O death, where is thy sting?
51  But thanks be to God
52  If God be for us
53  Worthy is the Lamb that was slain - Amen

Review by Bret D. Wheadon 2010
Carl Høgset's 1996 English-language recording of Messiah on Norwegian label Quattro is a worthy addition to collections, with a bright, energetic reading, generally fine singing from soloists and choir, and fine ambient sound in this live recording. Tenor Paul Agnew has a pleasing tone, albeit his timbre seems more attuned to the Broadway stage than classical literature. His arias have a slight "pop" sound, which may throw off baroque purists, but I found his style different and refreshing. Mezzo-soprano Tuva Semmingsen brings a male-alto tone to her arias, singing "But Who May Abide" with a cool, pitch-perfect reading. Bass Njål Sparbo is superb, singing with a vibrant tessatura and clean, precise melismas. Soprano Mona Julsrud possesses a brilliant sheen to her tone, and reflects the same icy precision of her fellow soloists.
The Grex Vocalis choir sings with Baroque cleanness, with little in the way of vibrato or heaviness - there are moments of pitch problems, but I account that more to the natural flaws of a live performance rather than to any inherent fault of the choir, who sings for the most part with unity and thrilling beauty.  The Oslo Baroque Orchestra plays with similar exactness, and the sound, recorded live in the Oslo Ris Church is rich and full.  Høgset's direction is tight, and the only fault I can find with the performance as a whole is that it suffers from the sterility of feeling that can afflict Messiah when Baroque stylings are given weight over the textual demands of the work. Still, this is a valuable recording of Messiah, although difficult to attain for those outside of Norway.