Why yet another Messiah? ‘I went through the different scores that exist and decided on the very interesting 1754 version, which features five soloists. You must remember that, when Handel arrived somewhere to perform his oratorio, he had soloists of varying standards available to him. So he quickly revised his score accordingly... All this is directly related to the reality of Handel’s situation as a concert promoter. In those days, to earn a living from his music, a composer absolutely had to get his works performed and make a profit on the evening. The idea of not retouching a work to avoid “spoiling” or “distorting” it is a much more modern one. There must be around a dozen versions of Messiah (I won’t list them all). The 1754 version is rarely played because it calls for five soloists: two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass... I’ve opted here for an operatic interpretation, taking its cue from the drama inherent in this account of the life of Christ.’ (Hervé Niquet)

This CD-book edition also includes a fascinating portrait of Hervé Niquet, an interview organised around thirty keywords (from ‘Dance’ to ‘Nerves’) that sheds new light on one of the most atypical conductors on today’s musical scene.

3 fff Télérama award