The Messiah is so ubiquitous as an idea, and the “Hallelujah” Chorus is one of those riffs that’s embedded in the cultural DNA, that it’s easy to think that you know the piece.
Odds are you don’t, because even just a taste of the entire piece is a revelation: this is one of Handel’s greatest achievements, one of the great oratorios in classical music. Every moment is beautiful and pleasurable in the way that makes you want to sing. It’s an essential entry in any music library.
Get this new recording. Conductor Niquet uses the 1754 revision with five soloists—if that matters—and the pace is perfect, the singing wonderful, and the sound of Le Concert Spirituel sensual. The playing is remarkable, honoring the stylistic essentials of baroque practice without exaggeration.