McGegan's recording is of considerable documentary interest in that a separate section at the conclusion of each of the three parts of Messiah - there are three discs accordingly - is reserved for the many alternative versions of arias, accompanied recitatives and choruses which Handel himself used or at least approved in performances during the 1740s and 1750s. In this way, the booklet explains, the listener can select which version of the work he/she wants to listen to at any given time. About six versions are possible from the 18 alternative tracks provided on the three CDs. By following a table printed in the back of the booklet (a few minutes' mental gymnastics are initially required) you can programme your CD player to replace particular arias with others.
With an outstanding solo quartet and a great chorus and orchestra, Davis leads a sterling performance that challenges the supremacy of his 1966 Philips recording of Messiah. Davis leads a dramatic performance; the famous "Hallelujah" chorus appropriately grand, the final "Amen" bristling with brazen energy, both sung with extraordinary tonal coloring and precise articulation by the chorus, which also shines in a lithe "He shall purify" and a vividly virtuoso "For unto us a child is born." Soprano Susan Gritton's solos are a delight, whether in the measured "Behold, a virgin shall conceive" or her exuberant "Rejoice greatly." The vocal purity of her "I know my redeemer liveth" makes this track a highlight. Alto Sara Mingardo's darker tones are especially moving in her arias and dramatic in "He was despised."
Rossellini's final film relates the story of Christ in the director's unsentimental, realistic style.
For many acts, the casino circuit is the kiss of death creatively, but in the case of Tom Jones the exact opposite is true – amidst the neon lights, craps tables, and slot machines, he's at the top of his game, feeding on the energy and excitement to command the stage with a power and eroticism that are virtually unmatched. Recorded in Las Vegas in the spring of 1971, Live at Caesar's Palace – his tenth and final gold record – captures Jones at his bawdy best, offering a compelling mix of hits and covers while still managing to make time with the ladies between songs; riding high on the recent success of "She's a Lady," he also samples smashes like "It's Not Unusual" and "Delilah" in addition to a vast range of material spanning from "Soul Man" to "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to "My Way." The between-song stage patter is priceless as well – for fans, this is an essential set.