This time of year our hearts turn to Christmas music, and when mine turns to Christmas music, it turns to The Messiah. I had the honor of singing in a couple of performances of this great piece of music in my youth, and I fell in love with it. I believe I could happily listen to “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” 24 hours a day.
There are many great pieces in The Messiah. From the tenor solo, “Comfort Ye My People” which starts it off to the final chorus, “Worthy Is the Lamb,” it is filled with great music, but no other single piece has ever been written that stirs my heart as the soprano solo, “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” does.
There is a church here that performs The Messiah every year during the Christmas season, and my wife and I usually manage to attend a performance. At this church, everyone is given a copy of the music (to be returned at the end of the performance) and encouraged to sing along on the choruses. That always takes me back to the days when I sang in such a production.
The composer, George Fridrich Handel was born February 23, 1685, and died April 14, 1759. During his 74 years here on earth, he amassed an amazing list of accomplishments.
We primarily know Handel for his Messiah, but he was a renowned composer long before he wrote it. Although his father wanted him to be a lawyer, music had too firm a hold on his heart. He wrote a couple of operas which were produced in 1705—when he was only 20 years old, and over his lifetime he wrote operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos.
Handel was 56 years old when he wrote The Messiah, and he never performed an Italian opera after that. Taking text submitted to him by Charles Jennens, Handel adapted it and wrote the music for it in an astonishing 24 days!
Unlike many classical artists, Handel was a wealthy man at the time of his death in 1759. He also created a wealth of music during his life, the greatest of which was The Messiah.
What is your favorite solo or chorus from this magnificent piece?
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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Thanks for this interesting blog on Handel, David. I love the Messiah too, and since you have performed it, I can see why it is even more special to you. If it were being performed here in Spokane, I would surely go. It is amazing that Handel wrote it later in his life, after years of successful writing of other things.
Thanks, Sis. I hope you can find a performance in Spokane.
Thanks for sharing, David. The Messiah is my favorite Handel composition as well. I had the pleasure of singing it and can still sing much of it from memory.
Last year there was a viral Youtube video of people in a shopping mall bursting out with the chords of the Hallelujah Chorus. Love it!
Thanks, Rich. Another similarity in our backgrounds. Guess I missed the video. Sounds interesting.
Love this post, David. What a powerful, amazing stirring piece of music. Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome, Carole. I love it, too, as you might have guessed.
I thrill to the beautiful “Messiah” too. It’s one of my favorite pieces of music. Can’t wait to hear it again this Christmas season.
Yes, let’s be sure to go, sweetie.