written in 24 days, premiered in 1742
As I learned in Italy this summer, it is truly remarkable to see the creative mastery that’s accomplished when an artist’s passion consumes them. I can’t even comprehend what it means to compose an entire oritorio in just 24 days. Magnificent does not say enough.
Handel’s Messiah is one of my favorite sounds of Christmas. Though it’s actually more of an Easter work, with the Hallelujah chorus accenting his glorious resurrection, the western world has adopted it as part of Christmas celebration. And Messiah Sing-alongs are held throughout the season. Do you and your family have a tradition of attending one?
In high school my sister Camille and I both participated in orchestra at school, playing the violin. So when Christmas rolled around, we headed to the church every Saturday to practice with the church orchestra for the big Messiah Sing-along, held on a Sunday evening in December. We were always Second Violin (and probably the last stand) but we did our best to keep up with the music and I have many fond memories of those performances.
I haven’t been to a sing-along in a while but every Christmas Eve, my parents pull out the sheet music, pass a copy to everyone and we all sing the Hallelujah Chorus together as family and friends (with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the background; we’re not that good).
All people are inspired and touched in different ways, through different media. Music has always been a powerful one for me and a reminder of how much God loves us and why he gave us his most precious gift, his son. Among the frills and fun of Christmas I love these moments that bring me back to the real meaning of the season and the spirit of giving.