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.
To All Who Celebrate!