With this declamatory statement, librettist Charles Jennens announced his intention to persuade George Frideric Handel to collaborate with him on a text he had completed. In a letter to his friend Edward Holdsworth dated July 1741, Jennens said: ” I hope I shall persuade him (Handel) to set another Scripture Collection I have made for him & perform it for his own Benefit in Passion Week. I hope he will lay out his whole Genius & Skill upon it, that the Composition may excell all his former Compositions, as the Subject excells every other Subject. The Subject is Messiah.”
This simple quote encapsulates the phenomenon that is Handel’s oratorio Messiah. Handel did indeed endow it with ‘his whole Genius and Skill’. For over 250 years it has been a cornerstone of the choral repertoire, performed by communities and professionals, in churches and concert halls, representing a meeting of the sacred and the dramatic. Jennens’ quote also underscores the original intention of performing Messiah at Passiontide.
Following their highly acclaimed performance in 2009, the Choir and Orchestra of St James’ King Street, directed by Warren Trevelyan-Jones come together to perform this well known and loved of all sacred choral works. This presentation by the Choir of St James’ and St James’ Baroque is a rare opportunity to hear Messiah as it was written, for smaller musical forces showcasing some of the choir’s talented soloists and creating a true balance between voices and instruments that replicates Handel’s own approach at the first performance in Dublin at Easter in 1742. Over the years this masterpiece has been enlarged well beyond its original form. Modern versions with choirs of thousands are commonplace at Christmas, yet Jennens, selected passages from Old and New Testaments as a meditative framework for Lent.
Tickets: Adult: $48 Concession: $44 (Additional fees may apply)
Book at http://www.cityrecitalhall.com/events/id/1209/Handel-s-Messiah/ or call 1300 797118