Friday, November 5, 2010

Handel - Messiah - Suzuki, Bach Collegium Japan







The Bach Collegium Japan has proven itself in Bach cantatas, but Messiah is as sacred a musical cow as Anglo-Saxons have. Don't be skeptical, though: these Japanese musicians are the equal of any Anglophone group. In fact, this performance's only weakness is its English soloists: tenor John Elwes and bass David Thomas are admirable artistsMasaaki Suzuki who have seen better days. The Japanese soloists fare better: Midori Suzuki has an agile, youthful (sometimes fragile) soprano; countertenor Yoshikazu Mera's excellent coloratura and eloquent delivery compensate for any lack of vocal heft. Masaaki Suzuki's choir and orchestra perform with clarity, warmth, excellent English diction, and a sense of wonder not heard since Hogwood's 1980 recording. Messiah-manes may want to program their CD players to mix Suzuki's chorus with, say, Hogwood's or Christie's soloists. --Matthew Westphal


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