Countless indignities have been visited upon the Hallelujah Chorus. Currently it is being used in a suggestive television commercial for an on-line dating service, but nothing can diminish its glory. It is, of course, the best known section of Handel’s Messiah which moved King George II to stand, possibly unintentionally, instituting a custom which lasted for more than two centuries. From 22 February, Sydney and Melbourne will have the opportunity to hear the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Chorus perform this masterpiece for their first time. They will be joined by four attractive international soloists: Lucia Martin-Cartón, soprano from Spain, Nicholas Spanos, counter tenor from Greece, Kyle Bielfield, tenor from USA, and our own David Greco, bass.
G.F. Handel (1685-1759) was in the latter stages of his career when he premiered the work in Dublin on Tuesday 13 April 1742 as part of Passion Week. The performance was an unqualified success. The text was offered to Handel by Charles Jennens who had skilfully edited together texts from the New and Old Testaments. Although the first performances used forces similar to those being deployed now by the Brandenburg, before the end of the 18th century it was being performed by huge choruses and orchestras. Handel having been described as ‘the most Shakespearean of composers’ is able to be approached by each age in its own way. Messiah shows Handel as the supreme master in this greatly loved work.
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