Handel: Messiah; Acis and Galatea [4CD]

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Sir Adrian Boult made a selection of Decca recordings in the 1950s and 60s ranging from Baroque repertoire (Bach, Handel) to the music of the 20th century, most notably the first eight Vaughan Williams symphonies. Coupled together for the first time on CD are his two major Handel recordings for Decca, of the oratorio Messiah and the pastoral masque Acis and Galatea. Messiah is performed in unashamed grand tradition and this reissue is notable for the fact that it includes, as a bonus track, the first ever release of the tenor version of the recitative and arioso 'Thy rebuke! Behold and see'. The alternative version for soprano was chosen for the main recording and this wonderfully pliant reading by Kenneth McKellar will come as a revelation to many. Joan Sutherland appears on both works and the rest of the cast includes several notable singers living and/or working in England at the time – Peter Pears, David Ward, Owen Brannigan and David Galliver. The booklet includes the original notes as well as full texts for both works.