Editors' Notes Period-instrument recordings often lack some dynamic heft—particularly by the second hour of an oratorio like Handel’s Messiah. But this studio recording from conductor Harry Christophers, a quartet of vocal soloists (including the great Mark Padmore) and The Sixteen ensemble has energy aplenty—and not just in the famous “Hallelujah” chorus. (Though do check out the triumphant brass section during that bit.) The assembled players also excel in less bombastic passages (such as “He was despised”). A performance as strong as this one should tempt you to pull out this holiday season favourite at any point in the calendar.

SONG
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Symphony
1
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Comfort ye, my people - Accompagnato
2
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Ev'ry valley shall be exalted - Air
3
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed - Chorus
4
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Thus saith the Lord of Hosts - Accompagnato
5
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: But who may abide? - Air
6
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: And He shall purify - Chorus
7
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Behold a virgin shall conceive - Recitative
8
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: O Thou that tellest good tidings to Zion - Air and Chorus
9
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: For behold, darkness shall cover the earth - Accompagnato
10
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: The people that walked in darkness - Air
11
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: For unto us a child is born - Chorus
12
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Pastoral Symphony (Pifa)
13
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: There were shepherds abiding in the field - Recitative
14
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them - Accompagnato
15
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: And the angel said unto them: Fear not - Recitative
16
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: And suddenly there was with the angel - Accompagnato
17
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Glory to God in the Highest - Chorus
18
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion - Air
19
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened - Recitative
20
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: He shall feed His flock like a shepherd - Air
21
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 1: His yoke is easy and His burthen is light - Chorus
22
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Behold the Lamb of God - Chorus
23
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: He was despised and rejected of men - Air
24
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Surely He hath borne our griefs - Chorus
25
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: And with His stripes we are healed - Chorus
26
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: All we like sheep have gone astray - Chorus
27
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: All they that see Him laugh Him to scorn - Accompagnato
28
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: He trusted in God that He would deliver Him - Chorus
29
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Thy rebuke hath broken His heart - Accompagnato
30
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Behold and see if there be any sorrow - Arioso
31
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: He was cut off out of the land of the living - Accompagnato
32
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell - Air
33
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Lift up your heads, O ye gates - Chorus
34
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Unto which of the angels said He at any time - Recitative
35
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Let all the angels of God worship Him - Chorus
36
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Thou art gone up on high - Air
37
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: The Lord gave the word - Chorus
38
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: How beautiful are the feet of them - Air
39
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Their sound is gone out into all lands - Chorus
40
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Why do the nations so furiously rage together? - Air
41
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Let us break their bonds asunder - Chorus
42
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn - Recitative
43
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron - Air
44
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: Hallelujah! - Chorus
45
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3: I know that my redeemer liveth - Air
46
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3: Since by man came death - Chorus
47
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3: Behold, I tell you a mystery - Accompagnato
48
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3: The trumpet shall sound - Air
49
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3: Then shall be brought to pass - Recitative
50
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3: O Death, where is thy sting? - Duet
51
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3: But thanks be to God - Chorus
52
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3: If God be for us, who can be against us? - Air
53
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain - Chorus
54
 
Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 3: Amen - Chorus
55