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What is your opinion of George Handel’s oratorio The Messiah?

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by church mouse guy, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2002
    As you know, George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) composed The Messiah, which was first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Nowadays the oratorio seems mostly connected to Christmas but it is often used at Easter as well.

    Of course, the music is classified as Baroque and the lyrics are strictly KJV verses although some of the Psalms quoted are from the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer and vary slightly from KJV, or so I read.

    Tradition says that King George II stood for the famous Hallelujah Chorus and audiences today still stand during live performances of that chorus.

    The London Philharmonic Choir and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the late British Chorale Conductor John Alldis recorded the Messiah on 2 CDs in 1994 (I think that is the right year). It has been available for many years on the Sparrow Label, a Christian label. Also, Christian stores have many other versions. Your local library probably has a copy that you may borrow. And YouTube has many listings for the work.

    The oratorio is so long that many times live performances are shortened and inevitably your favorite part is taken out, sadly. Here is an internet list of all the parts of the score. I think that it is accurate:


    What is your opinion of Handel’s The Messiah?
  2. 12strings

    12strings Active Member

    Feb 10, 2004
    My opinion: It stinks! That Handel guy wouldn't know good music if it came up and bit him on the nose...and where did he get that text?!!! It doesn't have any songs about romance or break-ups, or even coming home to the family after being away at war! The Hallelujah chorus repeats the same words way too much...we heard it the first time!

    :laugh: Just kidding, I like it. I've a large chunk of it in choruses, though not the whole thing. I've also sung several of the "airs" for bass & tenor in recitals.

    In my current church context, it doesn't get much use beyond the occasional choir collection that has a small snippet of it inserted in simplified form.
  3. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit New Member

    Mar 19, 2003
    I've seen it in its entirety performed by the St Louis Symphony Orchestra and Choir. I thought it was very good.
  4. Aaron

    Aaron Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    A paragon of the art, but wholly out of place in Christian worship (corporate worship, that is) in which simplicity should rule.
  5. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman Active Member

    Dec 15, 2000
    It kind of sticks with me.
  6. RustySword

    RustySword New Member

    Feb 12, 2008
    I love it - I listen to it a few times each year.

    A few years ago I did my own little write-up on the lyrics. I'm sure better stuff has been done but, for what it's worth, here it is: