Chants, Chestnuts and Other Joyful Noise
Another Christmas and another “Messiah,” this time from one of the newer early music stars. It doesn’t replace the better period-practice “Messiahs” (my favorites are those led by Nicholas McGegan or William Christie, both on Harmonia Mundi). Nor are the adequate vocal soloists competitive with some of the greats, but the chorus is terrific, the authentic-instrument orchestra is particularly tangy, and when McCreesh gets into his most dramatic mode, the performance becomes breathtaking music theater.
Recordings are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good), four stars (excellent).