Went last night to a mammoth performance of an oratorio, by the choir of Paisley Abbey, which was supplemented for the event. This is because of the 2 hours (at least) of tiring singing involved, so it is usually musically-knackering! . Although this piece is usually performed at Christmas time, it is also appropriate for Easter, which is early this year.
There are probably very few people in this country who have not heard of ‘The Messiah’ by Handel. It is one of those pieces rooted in the British psyche. And yet it is a bit surprising. Handel was German, but lived a fair chunk of his life in London.
It was written over a period of 3 weeks and was first performed in Dublin on 13th April 1742. It was first performed in Britain at what was the Royal Opera House Covent Garden almost a year later. George 2nd stood up at the Hallelujah Chorus (why he did so, is open to debate), but since subjects could not sit whilst the Monarch stood, the whole audience had to stand. Since then everyone stands at this piece.
I have sung in it but have never conducted it, and have to admire the strength of the wonderful George McPhee who led it so wonderfully. Another marvellous musical evening!!