Monday, December 12, 2011

Challenge: Countdown to Christmas! "M"

Messiah by Handel
**The history below was taken verbatim from Classical Music About . com   (click this link)

The creation of Handel's Messiah was actually induced by Handel's librettist, Charles Jennens. Jennens expressed in a letter to his friend that he wanted to create a Scriptural anthology set to music by Handel. Jennens' desire quickly turned into reality when Handel composed the entire work in only twenty-four days. Jennens wished for a London debut in the days leading to Easter, however, a doubtful Handel anticipated such a wish would not be granted. A year after the work was completed, Handel received an invitation to perform his music in Dublin to which he joyously agreed.

Charles Jennens, a literary scholar, editor of Shakespeare's plays, and an admirer of Handel's work, received his education from Balliol College, Oxford. Before working on Messiah, Jennens had previously worked with Handel on Saul and L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il moderato. Jennens chose the Old and New Testament texts from the King James Bible. While a large portion of the libretto comes from the Old Testament, specifically the book of Isaiah, the few Scriptures from the New Testament include Matthew, Luke, John, Hebrews, First Corinthians, and Revelations.

Throughout Messiah Handel employs a technique called text painting, where the musical notes mimic the lines of text.  Messiah was met with eager ears at its debut on April 13, 1742. He had staged a public rehearsal the day before its premier, creating quite a buzz. It is said that hundreds of people were turned away due to lack of space. At its debut, Messiah was actually titled A Sacred Oratorio and all its proceeds were donated to local charities and hospitals for the mentally ill at the request of Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Since its debut, there are many versions of Handel's Messiah. Handel himself reworked and edited his score countless times to fit the needs and abilities of his performers. While the true original is lost in a sea of variations, today's Messiah is as close to the original as music historiographers can agree upon.

Last year, I was treated to this particular Christmas Food Court Flash Mob presentation.
Enjoy the Halleluia Chorus from the Messiah!

This year -  Hallelujah Chorus Flashmob at Lindale Plaza, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

This is the Halleluia Chorus Flashmob at Jordan Creek Mall, Des Moines, IA (Simpson College students)

Halleluia! indeed!
Have You attended a Messiah presentation lately? I got to sing in one (just for fun!!!) Saturday (Dec. 10) afternoon with the SE Iowa Symphony!  I am NOT a soloist.... just one of the chorus that sang along.  :-)

Blessings to you this season, as you Countdown to Christmas!



Great countdown. I love these seemingly impromptu flash mobs.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Grace, I'm having fun! Guess I'm making up for not having been around much this Gardening season! ;-) I love the flash mobs, too! With a little encouragement . . . ha!