Advent calendar Dec 19th

The Messiah with Nigel Wicken

Premiered as 'A Sacred Oratorio', Messiah was originally intended as a piece for Lent, and the first performance was in Dublin on April 13th 1742.  Ladies were requested to wear dresses 'without hoops to make room for more company'.

The text is an extended reflection on Jesus as Messiah. It begins with prophesies by Isaiah and others, and moves to the annunciation to the shepherds, the only scene taken from the gospels. The second part concentrates on the Passion and part three covers the resurrection and Christ's glorification in heaven.

What then is the enduring appeal of this annual ritual? Could it be  that the insights of great works of art, music and literature help us to identify what will cultivate what is best and noblest in us as human beings?

Even when the subject is religious, Handel is writing about the human response to the divine, so perhaps again this year, the familiar music will once again draw us towards new answers  to ' the hopes and fears of all the years.' 

Dec 19th from Chris Osborne on Vimeo.