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TSO recording of Handel’s Messiah released by Chandos

November 18, 2016

Premier recording of Sir Andrew Davis’s performing edition

Just in time for the Christmas season, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) launches its latest recording, Messiah. The two-CD box set, released on the prestigious Chandos label, is available in stores across North America as of today, as well as on iTunes. The premier recording of Sir Andrew Davis’s performing edition of Handel’s timeless masterwork was recorded live in December 2015 at Roy Thomson Hall, in Toronto. A stellar quartet of soloists—Erin Wall (soprano), Elizabeth DeShong (mezzo-soprano), Andrew Staples (tenor), and John Relyea (bass-baritone)—joins forces with the TSO and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (Noel Edison, Artistic Director), under the direction of TSO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis.

The two-CD box set includes a 65-page booklet comprising the complete text, notes from Sir Andrew Davis, track listings, background information in three languages, photographs, and more. For details and track listings, please visit Chandos.net.

When it premièred in 2010, the unique Messiah production—featuring Sir Andrew Davis’s reimagined and monumental orchestration—broke attendance records for the TSO’s annual presentation of Handel’s much-loved oratorio. The Globe and Mail called it a “toe-tapping modern take on a hallowed masterpiece…a keeper.” The second set of performances, in 2015, was completely sold out, and received with great enthusiasm.

“My aim was to keep Handel’s notes, harmonies, and style intact, but to make use of all the colours available from the modern symphony orchestra in order to underline the mood and meaning of the individual movements,” explains Sir Andrew Davis about his new performing edition of Messiah. “In ‘telling the story’ of this great work I have endeavoured to create moments of drama, pathos, and even sometimes whimsicality—I hope, without detracting from the innate power of the original,” he adds. “Everything I have done instrumentally stems from the enormous respect, even awe, which I feel towards this supreme masterpiece.”

This is the TSO’s second recording for Chandos, following Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade. Conducted by TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian and featuring TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow, Sheherazade was recorded live at Roy Thomson Hall in June 2013, and released in November 2014.

Based in the UK, Chandos Records Ltd. is one of the world’s premier independent classical music record labels. The company is renowned for its superb sound and has won many prestigious awards for its natural sound quality.

The TSO has a long history of recording, dating back to 1942. The TSO recording library consists of over 145 releases, including eight recordings on its self-produced label, TSO Live.  

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The 2016/17 season is dedicated to H. Thomas Beck in recognition of his vital and long-standing support of the TSO.

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