The music Sunday, December 12 at the 10:00am service will be from the Christmas portion of Messiah, HWV 56, by Georg Frederick Handel (1685-1759). This will be accompanied by a string quintet, trumpet, and organ with guest conductor Scott Cranston. To include more selections of the work, the prelude will begin at 9:50.
Messiah is an oratorio: a lengthy religious work consisting of recitatives, arias, and choruses without any scenery or acting. Handel was given a compilation of Old and New Testament scriptures from his friend, Charles Jennens (1700 – 1773). As in a typical oratorio, Messiah was divided into three parts: Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. Handel usually worked very quickly, so no one was surprised when Messiah was composed in 24 days (August 22 – September 14) in 1741 and performed for the first time in Dublin in 1742. It was intended to be sung by a small choral ensemble, although many choirs today have more than one hundred people singing this work. Messiah was Handel’s favorite work and near the end of his life, he enjoyed popularity from it. Beginning in 1784 Messiah has been performed yearly to benefit a hospital for underprivileged children in London. This organization continues today as the Thomas Coram Foundation. Messiah was performed in the United States beginning in 1818.