Choir of King’s College, Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury
Academy of Ancient Music
Digital downloads available May 19 from EMI Classics (CD release June 2, 2009)
“It’s not just rock groups that rush-release live albums.”– Independent ( UK )
George Frideric Handel died on April 14, 1759. To commemorate the momentous occasion of the 250th anniversary of his death, the world-renowned King’s College Choir, Cambridge performed Handel’s beloved oratorio, Messiah, on Palm Sunday 2009 (April 5) under the direction of Stephen Cleobury, in the magnificent surroundings of King’s College Chapel, one of the jewels of Britain’s cultural and architectural heritage. The concert, which teamed the choir with soloists of the Royal Opera House (Ailish Tynan, soprano; Alice Coote, mezzo-soprano; Allan Clayton, tenor; and Matthew Rose, bass) and the Academy of Ancient Music – was broadcast live via satellite to cinema screens around the world, and now appears on a new release from EMI Classics. The recording will be available for digital download only on May19, with the CD release to follow on June 2, 2009.
London’s Independent has already reviewed the new album, and quite favorably, beginning cheekily with the observation, “It's not just rock groups that rush-release live albums,” and concluding, “Stephen Cleobury’s interpretation ticks all the boxes, with choir and orchestra impeccably balanced, and soloists glowing.”
Handel’s Messiah premiered in Dublin in 1742 and is arguably the most popular work in the choral literature, performed by amateurs and professionals alike both at Christmas time and during the Easter season. Additional movie screenings of the King’s College performance, as well as an EMI Classics DVD release, are planned for the 2009 holiday season.