A Year Ahead

Our singing year starts in September and we have three regular concerts each year, in Spring, Summer and at Christmas.  Details of our next concert is below.  Information about concerts we have given in the past are on our Past Concerts page.


OUR NEXT CONCERT

A piece as iconic as Handel’s Messiah needs little introduction. Its combination of Baroque musical drama with the ringing prose of the King James Bible has produced one of the definitive statements of Western art, as well as one of the most widely-known and frequently-performed pieces of music in the world.

As the title suggests, Messiah deals with the figure of Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible:
Part I presents the prophesies of his Nativity;
Part II details his passion, resurrection, ascension, and the preaching of the gospel;
and Part III explains the Christian belief in redemption of the world and the end of days.

Handel’s musical response to this subject matter – setting texts excerpted from the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer by librettist Charles Jennens – features too many high points to mention, ranging from intimate arias and sparse, economical vocal writing to the monumental splendour of the more substantial choruses.

The rousing ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus is one of the most famous pieces of Baroque choral music, and by far the most widely known section of the work. Audiences tend to stand during performances – a tradition that allegedly began when King George II stood up during the chorus at the oratorio’s debut London performance.

After Handel’s death, immensely scaled performances become popular. As early as 1784, Messiah was performed in Westminster Abbey with 60 sopranos, 48 countertenors, 83 tenors, 84 basses, 6 flutes, 26 oboes, 26 bassoons, 1 contrabassoon, 12 horns, 12 trumpets, 6 trombones, 157 strings, assorted percussion, and an organ. Some 19th-century performances brought thousands to the stage.

Over the two-and-a-half centuries since its premiere – and whether performed in a cut version or complete – Messiah has continued to speak directly to modern audiences, retaining its compelling force of invention and powerful cultural resonance, demanding to be performed again and again.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email