Friday, November 25, 2011
Sargent's 1946 "Messiah"
Among the many felicities in this performance I would like to single out just one - notice what an absolute pianissimo the chorus achieves by the end of "All We Like Sheep." I don't think that the sense of horror over "and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" has ever been conveyed more forcefully on record.
Handel: The Messiah
Soloists, Huddersfield Choral Society and Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Malcolm Sargent
Recorded July 12-16 and September 26, 1946
Columbia Masterworks Set MM-666, nineteen 78-rpm records
Link 1 (FLAC files, part 1, 173.77 MB)
Link 2 (FLAC files, part 2, 189.86 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 174.7 MB)
As I mentioned earlier this year, when I posted several galleries of Steinweiss record covers of which this "Messiah" set was one, somebody at Columbia had a really wicked sense of humor, making this Masterworks Set No. 666! I suspect Goddard Lieberson himself had a hand in this - he was head of Masterworks by this time. Am I the only one who finds this funny? Look at this picture of the two spines for the two albums - dotted with crosses, as if to ward off the evil influence of the fatal number: