C0958. ADRIAN BOULT Cond. London S.O. & Chorus, w.Joan Sutherland, Grace Bumbry, Kenneth McKellar & David Ward: MESSIAH (Handel), recorded 1961, Kingsway Hall, London; Boult Cond. Royal Opera House Orch., w.Kenneth McKellar: Arias from Jephtha & Judas Maccabeus – recorded 1961; Bonynge Cond. New S.O. of London, w.Joan Sutherland: Arias from Samson – recorded 1963; Molinari-Pradelli Cond. Royal Opera House Orch. & Chorus, w.Joan Sutherland: Samson – Let the bright Seraphim – recorded 1960. (E.U.) 3-Newton Classics 8802032. - 8718247710324
"This landmark recording of Messiah dates from 1961, and was Boult's second for Decca - the first made in 1954. Both versions use Julian Herbage's revised edition which erased many of the 19th-century accretions and bad habits that had clung to this famous score like barnacles to a ship's hull.
Today, 'period practice' - the pioneering work of musicologists trying to strip away centuries of 'improvement' to get at the composer's original ideas and intention - is the norm for such music. When first released, the recording claimed to use 'authentic orchestration'. Although modern instruments were used, the number of players involved would approximate to the number used by Handel - although the string section is rather big!
It is worth remembering that Handel, ever the showman, would use vast forces if at all possible. Julian Herbage made his edition in 1935, and feared it had been destroyed during the Blitz in 1942. Happily it survived, and he refined and merged his earlier edition with a later version used here."
- Zillah D. Akron