Friday, 25 December 2020

"For Unto Us A Child Is Born"

 

This year, for the first time 35 years, I was unable to attend a live performance of Handel's Messiah at Christmas. Thanks, Covid-19! But I made do by listening a couple of times to a full recording of the oratorio. Hopefully next year, I'll hear it performed live once again.

Over the decades, I've heard every conceivable performance variation of this work -- including outstanding soloists, mediocre soloists, downright gawdawful soloists, with female contraltos/mezzo-sopranos or male countertenors, featuring big choirs, small choirs, on one memorable occasion a massed choir of 500 voices, the music played on modern instruments, baroque instruments, at the traditional slower tempo, at a modern faster tempo, etc. etc. etc.

This recent 2019 performance by Boston Baroque features the same kind of small, stripped-down orchestra and chorus that would have been common in Handel's day. Its breezy tempo is almost too fast for my taste but it's still preferable to the traditional tempo's ponderous, overly-reverential pacing.

I hope you enjoy this particular chorus which is perfect for Christmas day. 

Merry Christmas
To All Who Celebrate!

36 comments:

Parnassus said...

Hello Debra, We can all have a merry Christmas, whether we celebrate or not. About this Handel recording, I agree with you that it is a bit fast. I think that conductors need to read the story of Goldilocks--we get many performances that are too fast or too slow, but somehow very few that are "just right."
--Jim

Moving with Mitchell said...

Just imagine the music you'll hear next year. Wishing you a very merry Christmas (and an especially happy Friday).

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Merry Xmas!

XoXo

Adam said...

Merry Christmas

anne marie in philly said...

bring on more daylight! have a peaceful day!

krayolakris said...

Thank you! All the best to you and yours!

Travel said...

Merry Christmas,

Marcia LaRue said...

Merry Christmas to you and your partner ... looking forward to reading so much more from you in the New Year!

Martha said...

That was beautiful! Merry Christmas Debra and thanks so much for the Christmas card. Enjoy the day :)

John M said...

Merry Christmas

Martha said...

Merry Christmas! All the best to you.

Frank said...

Your musical knowledge is much more refined than mine, but it is a beautiful rendition. Have a blessed and peaceful day and new year.

Mistress Maddie said...

Merry Christmas...Happy Yuletide!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

thanks so much! this is just what i needed this morning. merry xmas!!!!

This N That said...

Merry Christmas HoHoHo

This N That said...

Merry Christmas..Enjoy your day!!

DVArtist said...

It would be amazing to see and hear this in person. Thanks for sharing it today. Have a wonderful day.

Kirk said...

Haven't heard enough versions of Handel's Messiah to say whether this was better than any of the others, but I enjoyed it. Merry Christmas.

Joanne Noragon said...

Thank you. Happy, happy holidays.

Ur-spo said...

hohoho
A very happy Christmas to you !

The Captain said...

Happy Yule, Merry Christmas Debra x

Magic Love Crow said...

Merry Christmas Debra! Big Hugs and Much Love!

Kay G. said...

Merry Christmas.

Mike said...

Merry Christmas!

peppylady (Dora) said...

Wishing you the best though the holiday season. Blessed Yule

Linda said...

The performance with 500 voices must have been very impressive to hear! Thank you for sharing the video, I enjoyed it. Let's hope that you can go to a live performance again next year. Merry Christmas, and thank you for the lovely card (hope you got my response).

CraveCute said...

This is just beautiful!

Cynthia said...

Always happy to hear Handel at Christmas . . .or anytime. Thank you.

My Grama's Soul said...

Merry Christmas Deborah......it is always so wonderful to hear from you and that you are doing well.

Jo

Magaly Guerrero said...

This is the first year in many that no one from our household (all right no one at all) got to go to The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. More than missing the show, I found myself missing my Piano Man practice in the house. It's being a strange year. Maybe the next will be better. No, no maybes about it, 2021 will be better.

The chorus was quite lovely.

Suz said...

I can imagine seeing this in person is a wonderful experience; it was lovely to listen too.
Merry Christmas to you, The Rare one & HRH.

Janie Junebug said...

The vaccine is available, and more of us will get out shots during 2021, so I feel confident that you'll be out and about next Christmas.

Love,
Janie

Liz Hinds said...

Hope your Christmas was lovely!

Guillaume said...

Belated Merry Christmas! And you can't go wrong with Handel's Messiah.

This N That said...

I don't know how those comments got on to this post..It's the first time I saw it...unless I'm loosing it!! I used to love to "sing along " with any performance of Handels Messiah...Sooo moving..I saw the whole performance years ago done by our local Symphony Orchestra...I'll stick to the chorus...Happy Sunday..Hope you had a nice Christmas..

JACKIESUE said...

happy yule debra