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John Eliot Gardiner's is a highly musical and inspired account of Messiah, featuring an excellent group of soloists and an outstanding period-instrument band. With dance rhythms athletically sprung and da capo arias tastefully ornamented, the performance generates consistent interest and is lively in spite of its length. There is splendid choral singing from the Monteverdi Choir--the ending of "All We Like Sheep" is quite potent--and much wonderful work from the soloists. The recording, made in 1982, is impeccable. --Ted Libbey
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