Friday, December 10, 2010

Handel and the History of the Messiah

Handel Commemoration in
Westminster Abbey
In today's post, Sharon Lathan of Austen Austhors has a post on how Handel's Messiah came to be associated with the Christmas season. Scheduling concerts to raise money for charity is older than you may think, and one of the reasons why The Messiah is perfectly suited to the giving of alms that we associate with this time of year.

From Wikipedia:  Handel's  festival or ‘Commemoration’ took place in Westminster Abbey in 1784, to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of George Frideric Handel in 1759 and was organized by John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. The Concert of Ancient Music took the form of a series of concerts of Handel’s music, given in the Abbey by vast numbers of singers and instrumentalists.

The commemoration established a fashion for large-scale performances of Handel’s choral works throughout the nineteenth century and much of the twentieth. E.D. Mackerness in A Social History of English Music described it as "he most important single event in the history of English music."

Handel is honored together with Johann Sebastian Bach and Henry Purcell with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on July 28. He commemorated as a musician in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on July 28, with Johann Sebastian Bach and Heinrich Sch├╝tz.

3 comments:

  1. When I was at school, 16 years of age, I had a teacher, Brother Anthony, who had a passion for Handels Messiah and kept playing us bits of it. A load of sixteen year old boys were really not up for this sort of thing at all.

    Eventually we were brain washed, totally fell in love with it, infact, couldn't get enough.We became addicts. The friends I am in contact from those far off school years STILL have an addiction for Handels Messiah.

    Advice to any reader of this comment, listen to it and beware, you will be hooked for life.

    All the best,
    Tony

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mary, I felt inspired. I've posted The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah on London Calling.

    All the best,
    Tony

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is very informative! I had no idea these musicians were commemorated like that in America, impressive. Henry Purcell is my favourite one of the three you mentioned, as I've sung a few of his airs.

    ReplyDelete