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Messiah

   
 

Get a Handle on X'mas!

   

 

  

 

New York around the holidays is blessed with some truly wonderful cultural events that have become time-honored traditions, from Balanchine's Nutcracker to Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular.  One of our favorites is Handel's Messiah performed by the Trinity Choir.  Tradition celebrates community and continuity, and it has become a secular Christmas treat for New Yorkers who love their classical music. 

George Frideric Handel composed Messiah in 1741, and it was first performed in Dublin the following year.   Handel had previously concentrated on Italian operas but realized that his audience in England wanted something they could understand.  The oratorio Messiah is in essence an English opera with a sacred theme.  It is set to Charles Jennens's English language libretto which is based in large part on the Old Testament and contains verses from the King James Bible that tell the story of the life of Jesus.  It has become the most famous oratorio ever composed and part of its success lies in the almost divine concordance between lyrics and music.  Messiah has three sections and the rousing and famous Hallelujah chorus concludes the second of the three parts.  Handel is said to have composed the oratorio in a three-week frenzy of work.  It was originally written to be performed at Easter but has instead become a Christmastime staple.

Trinity Church holds a special place in the history of Messiah on this side of the pond - its choir gave the oratorio its North American World Premiere in 1770.  This year, guest conductor Andrew Megill will lead Trinity Choir along with the Rebel Baroque Orchestra.  The exquisite quality of the singing, the beauty and acoustics of Trinity Church, the use of period instruments, and the outstanding musical direction make for a transcendent musical experience.   

 

See: Trinity Choir 

Trinity Choir performs Handel's Messiah Sunday, December 14 at 3pm and Tuesday, December 16 at 7:30pm. There is a special free shorter performance on December15 at 1p. for an hour.  

 

Tags:  music 

 

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