Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah

This performance is demented. Leonard Bernstein cuts a bunch of numbers, and divides the piece into two parts instead of the usual three. He does use a countertenor (the strange-sounding Russell Oberlin), which was unusual in the late ’50s when this was recorded, but his interpretation isn’t just un-Baroque, it’s also unlike anything else you could possibly imagine. Slow, heavy, and totally unidiomatic, this recording is valuable only to Bernstein fanatics. –David Hurwitz

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