Monday, April 13, 2009

"I Thought I Saw The Face Of God."

In a strange coincidence (or perhaps not, given that it is Easter), I found myself listening to Handel's oratorio "Messiah" yesterday afternoon and here we have today Easter Monday, April 13, the date of the work's Dublin premiere. This piece has always been a personal favorite of mine. I'm not the most religious of people but I've found the work's central theme of hope and of surmounting obstacles apropos given what I've gone though in the past week.

I have a few different recordings of "Messiah". One of my favourites of the bunch is this 1988 recording by the English Consort led by Trevor Pinnock...



I'll leave the whole story about the custom of standing for the "Hallelujah" Chorus for now since I'm sure I've blogged about it in the past. I will say that my favorite explanation continues to be that King George II simply stood because he was at that moment hoping to sneak out to relieve himself.

The title for this post comes from an incident (apocryphal I'm sure) whereby one of Handel's assistants found the composer, score in hand, weeping uncontrollably in his room. When asked what was the matter, Handel simply responded, " I thought I saw the face of God."

1 comments:

That is the chicken said...

I too love the Messiah for no reason other than it's inspiring spine-chilling music.
Best performance? I once saw it performed in York Minster in england by Candlelight...THAT was truly magnificent!