Messiah in new orchestration for wind, strings, soloists and choir – Orchestra of St John's | Taking classical music out into the community

Messiah in new orchestration for wind, strings, soloists and choir

This is a beautiful recording of Handel’s Messiah, performed by OSJ at St Johns Smith Square in London on 5th March 2016. This double CD features Nardus Williams (soprano), Roderic Morris (sountertenor), Christopher Turner (tenor), Bozidar Smiljanic (bass) and OSJ Voices with Jeremy Jackman (chorus master) performing a re-orchestration by John Lubbock for Wind Orchestra, Soloists and Choir, with John Lubbock (conductor).

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John Lubbock says about his arrangement:
“Some years ago I heard a performance of the messiah on radio three with only wind instruments. Actually I thought it was dreadful. There were too many instruments and very silly ones like piccolo trombones and saxophones.
But it did trigger the thought that a more tasteful wind arrangement might be a rather interesting excercise.
I debated as to whether I should use clarinets as they didn’t exist in Handel’s time but actually giving the viola part to the clarinet has been one of the most interesting aspects. In the subsequent performances one has heard moments in the viola part for the first time when played on the clarinet.
It was interesting allocating the arias to the combinations of flutes oboes and clarinets and produced some very beautiful sounds in combination with the voices.
I have left the continuo as Handel intended with keyboard cello and bass and obviously kept the trumpets and drums.
Overall I think it makes one of the great masterpieces of western music sound in a different and sometimes illuminating way and our performances have been very well received by our audiences.”

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