Handel’s Messiah

Handel’s Messiah 2Some pieces of classical music just uplift you, whether you want it or not. “For unto us a child is born”, from Handel’s Messiah is one of those pieces. For me, anyway. Those violins, those flutes, those choir vocals. Ah, it is perfection. One YouTuber stated that some people work their entire lives to produce something like Messiah, and Handel did it in less than a month.

You have to hand it to him – it is wonderfully done. The highs and lows of the story of Christ are presented beautifully. It is difficult to imagine that at one time, in order to listen to this music, you had to wait, purchase a ticket, stand in line, and be there. Now make no mistake, I still want to experience Messiah properly, in front of a live orchestra and choir. But even if I never get to do that, I can get pretty darn close by using modern technology. You no longer have to do this or that. All you need to do is click, type, click, and you are there! Amazing.

One of the most amazing things ever to happen to music was when Beethoven debuted his 9th symphony. I heard that the crowd gave the piece several standing ovations. And oh my, does that piece ever deserve. The “Ode to Joy” has some of the most memorable and uplifting sequences in music, and it must have been a real experience at the time. I cannot imagine what must have been going through the minds of those who were. It was one of the largest arrangements ever, with a full orchestra and a choir to boot!

The people in the audience must have been on the edge of their seats, waiting for the moment when the choir would open up their mouths. The choir only comes in at the fourth movement, so it was probably close to an hour before they actually started singing. What tension! What passion! What an elation. This is what music is supposed to deliver, and I have no doubt that it delivered it that night.Handel’s Messiah 1

Another electric performance was the coronations. Throughout Europe, composers were commissioned to compose pieces specifically for various coronations, and there were some which were probably the highlight of the coronation itself, and which were an inseparable soundtrack to the whole thing. And all of it live, without editing, without recording, without tempering, without sound adjustments or cables. Amazing.

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