Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Do Yourself a Favor This Christmas Season

I like sappy Christmas music as much as anybody else (check that . . . no I don't), but please find a way to hear Handel's Messiah this Christmas, on CD if you must. And if you listen on CD, resist the urge to skip over the long solos (recitatives, if memory of high school music apprec serves correctly) to the "good part." It's far too easy to forget the richness of Handel's text (or should I say libretto? [I'm on a roll now.]) in those solos. If the Messiah doesn't stir your religious affections, please let me know what does.

I was listening yesterday with Chris Anderson's discussion of congregational vs. special music in mind. Along those lines, I don't particularly appreciate the performance aspects of the recording I have (trilling the r's, heavy vibrato, etc.), so I'd be grateful for someone to suggest a more straightforward recording. Thanks in advance.

5 comments:

Robert said...

About 10 years ago, Nightline did a show on the "perfect" Messiah--a search to record it as Handel envisioned it rather than as it is commonly performed today. Fewer voices and a smaller orchestra. I am not 100% sure, but I believe this may the one (at least it's the same director they talked to):

http://www.amazon.com/Handel-Messiah-Schlick-Florissants-Christie/dp/B00000079K

Ben said...

Thanks Robert. I'll check that out.

Paul said...

Ditto on the rich value of Handel's Messiah. We are taking the teens in our church to hear it next week.

Chris Anderson said...

I'll be taking 3 of my 4 girls to a final rehearsal of the Messiah tomorrow morning. It's being presented locally, but you'd think I was taking them to Severance Hall. They're very excited.

Josh said...

One a completely unrelated note - Ben, I came across a 1995 issue of the Vintage the other day. . .