The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Newest Choir Recording of Handel’s Messiah on Sale!

March 4, 2016 marks the release of the newest recording of Handel’s Messiah by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple SquareRelying on historical research and musical tradition, Mack Wilberg has created an edition of Messiah for our time. Two versions of the recording will be available: the Complete Oratorio, containing every movement of Messiah on two CDs with a bonus DVD, and Highlights, including some of the best loved choruses with featured selections by each of the soloists.

Over the years the Choir has recorded selections from Messiah as well as the entire oratorio multiple times. In fact, the Choir’s very first recording in 1910 included the famous “Hallelujah” chorus. In 1959, the Choir’s best-selling recording of Messiah received a gold record and in 2005 was inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

Why is the Choir doing a new Messiah recording now? “In recent years, new insights about the music of the Baroque period have emerged,” replied Mack Wilberg when asked. “We recognized that we needed to create something special and unique to this new recording. It required examining every note of the vocal and instrumental parts and making decisions as to what would accommodate a 360-voice choir and large orchestra and still reflect our present-day knowledge of baroque performance practices.” Musicologist Luke Howard observed that this Messiah recording “is different. This is a new approach that combines historical research with the kind of sound that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir can produce, which is a big, rich, 19th-century sound.”

The recording required many months of effort stretching over a two-year period.  Commenting on one particularly memorable moment during the recording of the final chorus“Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain,” Mack Wilberg said: “There was something magical, if you will, about that evening. Everyone was exceptionally unified. Everyone was feeling a wonderful spirit as we recorded that final chorus. That evening will remain with me as one of the most memorable experiences of my career.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of the legacy of Messiah,” said Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. “The mission of the Choir and Orchestra to share music that brings joy and uplifts the human spirit, is in perfect harmony with Handel’s work which has touched millions of people worldwide.