The New Music Hall on Fishamble Street, Dublin where The Messiah was first performed 1742.
George Frederic Handel
For many people attending a performance of The Messiah is the beginning of the Christmas Season. The ancient scriptures set to the elegant Baroque music, with a full choir, and substantial orchestra has become one of the best known and most popular choral works of the Western World.
The story is that of Jesus Christ in three parts. The first is the coming and birth of Christ. The second is His death on the cross and the Ascension into heaven, finally is the Resurrection and glorification in heaven. In 1741 London, this scripture text received modest reception. Handle was known for his Italian operatic style which was out of favor at the time. With his popularity at a low point, he accepted an invitation to Dublin and began preparing for the premiere performance. Handel not only conducted, but he also played the organ. It was met with much acclaim. Musicians of Dublin still regard this performance a high point of their cultural musical history.
A tradition of the audience standing at the Hallelujah Chorus was rumored to have been started by King James. It has no historical proof but the tradition of standing at the first notes of that rousing piece continues 300 years hence.
Treat yourself to the quieting and inspiring oratorio either in person or on the internet. It will put in focus “The Reason for the Season!”
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