In the spirit of the holidays, I will be writing about a piece played most often during the winter holiday season. The piece itself is an oratorio written by George Frederic Handel in 1741. It features a number of different movements, each of which may be in a different key and time signature, with a number of solos throughout the piece scattered between many vocal parts. The most famous movement is known as the Hallelujah Chorus and another well known movement is For Unto Us a Child is Born.
My person experience with this piece comes from an annual event in New York known as the Messiah sing in. Here, people can buy tickets to come sing selected movements from Messiah with other fans of the piece. The organizers bring a number of conductors, with a change of conductors for each selected movement. Participants can sit anywhere and include classical music enthusiasts, school/professional performing groups, and casual residents and visitors to New York. It was an odd experience for me at first, being a Bass II in my usual choral performing groups, I usually sit around other Bass II’s. However, at the Sing In, I happened to sit next to an alto which was surprising at first. Luckily, I was able keep a solid handle (pardon the pun) on my part. The group itself, was, as expected, not perfect, since it wasn’t balanced or organized in any way. The conductors, to their credit, did a phenomenal job of keeping it together which led to an acceptable final result. Thank you so much for reading and please let me know about any encounters you’ve had with this piece in the past. Also, be sure to comment your favorite movement from this piece.