Handel – Messiah

Recording: By the Choir of King’s College in Cambridge

Score: From IMSLP

Excerpts (part 1, scene 1, 4-5, part 2, scene 7):

A true English tradition, Handel’s best known oratorio was composed in just under a month. Some call it a fit of divine inspiration, but in reality Handel wrote many of his operas in a similar amount of time. Messiah’s success, on the other hand, is  most surely thanks to its “divine origins”. Handel had made a career writing operas in Italy before he moved to England with his patron, the Elector of Hanover-turned King George I. In London however, few could appreciate Handel’s Italian-singing divas, but absolutely everyone knew the words of the King James Bible from which Messiah‘s libretto was drawn.

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More neat stuff

Each year around Christmas you may hear familiar tunes like “And the Glory of the Lord” (a community choir favorite), “For Unto Us a Child is Born”, and the cliché “Hallelujah” chorus echoing around churches, concert halls, and… even malls? Yes indeed, when I was in university a group of locals (including UWO students I believe!) pulled off this Handel flash mob in a food court. Whether you are religious or no, I highly recommend your local sing-along Messiah for the experience of a truly musical Christmas. (To save money, go to a smaller show usually hosted in a church instead of the big one in the orchestra hall.)

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