A London resident of 30 years by the time he composed Messiah, the former Georg Friedrich Händel made his name in the British capital with his Italian-language operas, but when they began to fall out of fashion in the 1730s, he took to writing oratorios in English. Messiah, the sixth of these, was completed in 1741 and premiered in Dublin a year later. Its first performance featured a choir of 26 men and five boys, and this LSO Live recording with Tenebrae and Colin Daivs makes use of a reduced orchestra and choir of thirty. Recorded at the Barbican Centre in December 2006 using modern instruments, this album received rave reviews for "jaw-droppingly beautiful" singing from Tenebrae. As a patron of London's Foundling Hospital, Handel organised a number of benefit concerts featuring Messiah and left the institution the rights to it after his death.