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!!

3 thoughts on “Hallelujah!

  1. You take us on these musical journies with you and it is appreciated. I know the piece you mention but I don’t think I’ve ever had the good fortune of hearing it with a choir.
    It would be interesting to find out why George II stood up. I wonder if the music compelled him. It certainly has that strength.
    Thanks for the comment also. A difficult subject to write about and to comment on for people and I appreciate that you did.

  2. I went to the Albert Hall years ago for a performance of The Messiah. It still makes me tingle to think about it, and was far more rousing than any rock concert.

  3. Daffy…..we don’t know why he stood, and probably will never know….one myth says he was stiff with sitting and had got cramp…and another says he had a great respect for Handel and stood as a mark of respect.

    Flighty…..size does matter!! Messiah is great in a large venue, and does not do terribly well with small resources.

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