Handel's Messiah - Dunedin Consort - Bloomberg.com
Recently released on Linn, Dunedin Consort's recording of the 1742 Dublin version of "Messiah" - Handel adjusted the allocation of arias according to the performers - is one of the most intimate "Messiahs" available. The choruses are sung by only 12 singers, and though the "multitude of the heavenly host" sounds like a madrigal group, it is fascinating to hear Handel's textures so clearly.
The orchestra, directed from the keyboard by musicology maven John Butt, provides beautifully detailed accompaniment, with some notably fine colours from the violas and a very expressive "Pastoral Symphony" or "Pifa". Matthew Brook's bass arias are also impressive. His is a name to watch.