Scotland's Dunedin Consort's recreation of the 1742 premiere performance of Messiah in Dublin is wonderful fun. The performances are transparent, crisp light and energetic; the sound, clean and natural (Hybrid SACD).
There are many fewer performers than one normally hears, both in the choir and orchestra. I greatly prefer this.
Information on the differences between the "standard' version and the Dublin is on the Dunedin Consort's website, http://www.dunedin-consort.org.uk/messiahcd.aspx.
A thank you to Struts for initially posting about this recording and how one can download a 24/96 version from Linn's website. A delicious find!