05 December 2010

Handel's Messiah and Other Christmas Songs

I miss this:

Yesterday I took the T to Symphony Hall with two of my roommates (the other was in Denmark, but will be home in a matter of hours) to attend a performance of Handel's Messiah. It was gorgeous. I hadn't ever heard it in its entirety before, although I was familiar with most of the choruses and maybe half of the arias. The symphony was amazing, particularly the cellos and trumpets, although my favorite was probably the timpani during the Hallelujah chorus. They provided the text in the program which was awesome; I knew it was all from the Bible, but I was not aware that Charles Jennens put it together, or that he used so much text from the New Testament.

As we stood to listen to the Hallelujah chorus, I remembered the slight confusion at the JC Christmas concert in the audience when the students and other American audience members stood. As the bulk of Israel's population is Jewish they aren't familiar with the Messiah, or with the tradition of standing for the Hallelujah chorus. The performance yesterday was much better than ours in Jerusalem, but that wasn't a huge surprise. I would have been very disappointed if it had gone the other way around.

I've been listening to the recording of that JC Christmas concert, mixed in with the Tabernacle Choir and the ever favorite Bing. I've performed in better-sounding choirs and I've recorded better-sounding music, but something about that choir will always be the most special musical performing in which I've ever participated.

I love Christmas music.

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