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Klassiek - Verschenen op 13 oktober 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Why record yet another of Handel’s Messiah, asks Hervé Niquet, when the market is already flooded by over a hundred different references? And he answers that he went through the different scores that exist and decided on the very interesting 1754 version which features five soloists instead of the usual four, devised for the annual Messiah production at London’s Foundling Hospital. It must be remembered that, when Handel arrived somewhere to perform his oratorio, he had soloists of varying standards available to him. So he would quickly revise his score accordingly to produce a new version form of his Messiah. When examining the various rewritings that resulted, one may observe that soprano arias have been transposed for alto, that a bass aria has been reduced to half its length – the singer for that particular production must have been rather weak. All this is directly related to the reality of Handel’s situation as a concert promoter. In those days, to earn a living from his music, a composer – royalties did not exist yet, and publishers would recklessly pillage scores without bothering to refer to the composer – had to get his works performed and make a profit on the box office. The idea of not retouching a work to avoid ‘spoiling’ or ‘distorting’ it is a much more modern one. There must be around a dozen versions of Messiah, most by Handel himself, others rewritten later – by Mozart for one of them. The 1754 version is rarely performed because it calls for five soloists: two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass. The listener of this new recording will thus be sent back over 250 years ago in London’s Foundling Hospital. © SM/Qobuz
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