Too Hot to Handel - The Gospel Messiah (Arranged by Bob Christianson)
Colorado Symphony, Lillias White, Marin Alsop, The Majestic Praise Choir, Thomas Young & Vivian Cherry
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Great new approach to a classic
I heard about the album on NPR and downloaded on iTunes. The melodies and lyrics are respectful to the original, but offer a new perspective I had never heard. While I still love the more traditional approach, this recording offers a welcome break, particularly at the end of the Christmas season, when I've heard the classic version about twenty times.
so-so, but NOTHING like seeing it live
Don't judge this show by the recording. This recording does have some very nice moments, but seeing it live is very different--different soloists, choir, instrumentalists, and conductor, unless you see it in CO, where I imagine it's very similar. Too many parts of this recording sound stiff, like classical trying to go jazz, but I have heard the show where it naturally flows from more jazzy artists. I really don't care for Thomas Young in this setting (no offense, great voice for other things), he's a bit too stiff. Rod Dixon is the preferred tenor for this role, in my opinion. Vivian Cherry's voice is such a pleasure to listen to, and she sings very soulfully, although I miss Victor Trent Cook's vocal acrobatics, whom I saw live. I would recommend seeing the show live, then having this recording serve as a pleasant reminder of the show. But, I hope to see another recording eventually that's less forced and intentional--more jazzy and relaxed, and with a better choir.
Too Hot to Handel
The album may not come up to the annual live performance, but it still shows that music is elastic and its time to stretch your idea of music. The more you listen, the more you see the genius of the arrangers and Marin Alsop.
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