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Sir Adrian Boult / Pierre Colombo

Handel: Messiah; Bach Magnificat (3CD)

Sir Adrian Boult’s first Messiah for Decca, newly remastered and coupled with a rare L’Oiseau-Lyre recording of the Bach Magnificat, new to CD.


When this Messiah was released in 1954, critics were quick to recognise it as exemplifying the English oratorio tradition at its finest. Boult used a large chorus – the London Philharmonic Choir, singing with superb discipline and clarity of articulation.

More British singers on top form may be enjoyed in the coupling, a recording of Bach’s Magnificat made in 1955 for L’Oiseau-Lyre by the London-based Kalmar Chamber Orchestra and St Anthony Singers. The Swiss conductor Pierre Colombo, little known now, presides over a rhythmically vital account, lent a further ‘period’ feel by the stylish contributions of both the countertenor Alfred Deller and the slender, pure-toned soprano member of the Deller Consort, Eileen McLoughlin. This reissue is further enhanced by a new essay by R.J. Stove, contextualising both the works and these marvellous performances.

Messiah, HWV 56*

Jennifer Vyvyan, soprano
Norma Procter, contralto
George Maran, tenor
Owen Brannigan, bass-baritone
London Philharmonic Choir
Frederic Jackson, chorus master
London Philharmonic Orchestra
George Malcolm, harpsichord
Ralph Downes, organ
Eric Bravington, trumpet
Sir Adrian Boult

J.S. BACH (1685–1750)
Magnificat in D major, BWV 243°
Eileen McLoughlin, soprano I
Heather Harper, soprano II
Alfred Deller, countertenor
Wilfred Brown, tenor
Maurice Bevan, bass
St. Anthony Singers
The Kalmar Orchestra
Denis Vaughan, organ
Thornton Lofthouse, harpsichord
Pierre Colombo