• The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Conducted by Sir George Solti,  Kiri Te Kanawa Soprano.
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041Q8
  • Price $34 to $31

This is a “big” recording, from a world class orchestra, produced in 1990 with modern instruments and a large chorus. The production quality of the CD is outstanding with a perfect blend of instrument and voice. The sound is clear, full and dynamic.

Handel’s Messiah is one of the rare works of music that is both stunning in its musical beauty as well as its religious beauty.  I consider the Messiah composition to be a gift from God to his people.  It is a combination of perhaps a perfect selection of Biblical verses and breathtaking music.

For a review based from a religious point of view, the most important point is to define “perfect selection”.  The starting point for Handel are those passages from the Old Testament that are a prophecy of the coming Messiah. Why is this important? See Luke 24:42 (He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.”).  Handel then combines with the Old Testament, the Good News of the Gospel, to create a complete summary of our Messiah in about 2 hours and 15 minutes: from prophecy “Comfort ye my people”, to birth “For unto us a child is born”, Public ministry “His yoke is easy”, the crucification “He was despised”, and finally the resurrection: “Hallelujah” and “I know that my Redeemer liveth”.

I do realize that people who are not fans of the “classical” genre of music have probably not heard this work in its entirety.  My advice to them is to borrow a copy and give a sincere effort to listening to the complete work. If you are a fan of classical music, adding this CD to your collection is advisable for reasons much more important than the quality of the musicians or vocalists. I also recommend to follow along to each of the 47 parts by reading the accompanying song notes.  This recommendation is made so that the words and message of the songs can be internalized.  For the music and words create an atmosphere that is perfect for someone to contemplate the life of Jesus, your personal Messiah.

The word “special” does not do justice to what Handel has created, and what talented orchestras and choruses are able to reproduce.  For this work is the musical equivalent of Michaelangelo’s “La Pietà” or Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”, but unlike the two of those, you can have a copy in your own home, car, or portable music player to deepen and improve your spirituality whenever you want to press the play button.