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Listening to the first section of the familiar Sinfonia in this edition prepared by Eugène Goossens and Thomas Beecham transported me to the world of Walt Disney’s Stokowski- conducted Fantasia. It’s a shock at first, now that we are so used to historically informed baroque-style performances, but the re-orchestration is fascinating. The interesting story of the 1959 score and its famous recording (with the RPO, as here) and single contemporary performance is told in the liner booklet. There is some ‘smudgy’ choral singing from a combination of an international adult choir and members of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain; and an unfocused first entry from the tenor was an indication of solo contributions to come from him and his three colleagues that were not at all to my taste. Maybe I’m just too closely wedded to the precise tuning and timing that is now the norm for Messiah performances.

CLARE STEVENS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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