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One of the greatest performances that were ever done. The Messiah

Messiah is an oratorio that was offered as an Easter offering by George F. Handel at the Music Hall in Dublin on April 13, 1742. I’ve unexpectedly attended the performance last Sunday, and it impressed me a lot.

Messiah Handel
Messiah. George F. Handel

The Messiah was performed by the Sydney University Graduate Choir under the leadership of Christopher Bowen, the music director; and was deemed to be an ironic work. This paper will write an account of the premiere of Handel’s Messiah in Dublin by adopting a perspective of one of the soprano soloist, Anita Kyle. Although the choral performance was done in the 18th century, it remains a significant composition in history.

To begin with, Messiah has a long performance history, and it has become a common practice among Christians. According to Anita Kyle, it has become a tradition that should be performed during Christmas day that is entrenched with decorating and hanging flowers. The music is done in churches and at concert halls with or without the audience’s participation. I would argue that Messiah was not exclusively intended to be Christmas music since it received its premiere on April 13, 1742, during the Easter holiday and in a secular context which was a concert hall in Dublin.   The inspiration to write and present Messiah came from Charles Jennens who was a scholar and a devout evangelical Christian who was concerned with irreligious practices. He compiled and edited materials from the Book of Common Prayer and the King James Bible about Christian doctrine concerning the coming of the Messiah as prophesied in the Old Testament. Charles Jennens approached his friend Friedrich Handel to compose an oratorio in a secular setting performance before Easter. On my account, Messiah was targeting the people who had come to the theatre and not a church audience. It is possible that Handel wanted to remind them of their faith and the fate of ignoring the Christian ways.

Despite the work being inspired by someone else, Handel attempted to write music that would be inspirational and timeless in the history of concert performance. However, it is unfortunate to note that Messiah gained popularity in the 1750s. The composing of the music was only done in twenty-four days, which is why his followers hold him in high esteem. By some, he is considered the greatest composer to have ever lived.  Charles Jennens designed the shrewd compression of biblical writings referring to the Savior of Humanity.  Consequently, he did not get any position in the society due to his failure to accept the vow to pledging his loyalty to the Dynasty of Hanover. Jennens also declined to be part of Stuart’s doctrine.   In 1941, Jennens wrote his friend Edward Holds worth to inform him that Handel had promised not to work on anything that winter and that he had to persuade him to come up with a different assortment of biblical text he had made for him and perform it according to his interests during the week of Lent. According to the performance, Handel had applied his skills and abilities, and this made the composition excel all his previous ones, with the theme Messiah exceling the rest of the topics. Jennens was a champion of Handel’s music, and he ordered the music to be copied and printed for the whole world to access it.

Furthermore, Charles Jensen’s intention for Messiah was to act as a reminder to Christians of their faith as a result of the increased community of non-believers. It is hard to understand and contemplate the perception of religion from the perspective of Handel and Christianity as a whole. However, admirable legends of his stature lamenting in relation to the score of the Liberator did not auger well. It took him 24 days to come with the composition; this swiftness in his work can be compared to Handel’s rapidity in regular life and not linked to divine inspiration. After he had completed his work, he left for Ireland to perform it in Dublin. Jennens had heard about his great inspiration and the fame of Messiah in London, and he wondered why he never showed it there.  A lot is not known about his invitation and acceptance to play in Ireland. He had also played two genres in London, and it never attracted the audiences, and he thought of abandoning Italian theatre use to adopt English works. It seems that the invitation to Ireland made Handel escape the pressures from London and be able to set up his position. He pointed it clear so as to protect his views and ideas in his performance. This first production has been adopted by many countries in the world that do the chorus during Christmas celebrations. You know, I feel that I also need faith and possibly, religion. And I started to read about it and I’ve found a good website with christian books reviews.

Besides, Handel performance for messiah raised high expectations to the audience. This was evident with the rehearsal that attracted and excited newspapers which hyped the piece arguing that oratorio was so far a piece that surpass anything that had ever Staged performance in a similar way. The predicted number of attendants was 600, but more 700 persons streamed in. The advertisement stated that women should not come with hoops while the men were to leave their swords so as to save on space.  The debut of Messiah experienced a major accomplishment. Handel’s work gained favour from the judges who concluded that it was a good performance. Words would not be sufficient in expressing the superb amusement it offered to the cheerful audience. On the other hand, many people thought it was sacrilegious. The topic of the oratorio was sacred that read to God alone the glory and it being performed during Easter; that would make the audience interpret the music as devout. It was also presented under secular setting in a concert hall. The performance would be deemed religious if it would be performed in a church despite its composure being from the Bible and the Book of Prayer.  However, it still reached the intended audience, and Handel accomplished his purpose of making a life changing the piece of work that would change Ireland.

The oratorio aroused moral outrage from some. For example, a satirist known as John Arbuthnot wrote a pamphlet to criticize the two soprano women who came to blows on the stage. It was evident that there was the absurdity of London’s opera and classical composers, and Handel was no different. Also, the oratorio attracted outrage from the bishop of London upon its performance by the cathedral singers. It is evident that many people objected the integration of secular and religious worlds especially by using theatres and concert halls for performance. Jonathan Swift also threatened to forbid singers to participate in the Messiah performance. Handel wanted to defuse and try to remove some of the controversies.  He later went to perform and work in Dublin instead of London.   The Messiah is not a Christmas piece. It outlined the life of Jesus up to resurrection.

It is evident that there is no definitive version for the performance. Many thinkers and audience find it hard to guess the original intentions of the composer. This is because Handel wrote some parts of oratorio to fit his soloists’ abilities. Messiah has continued to change with the participants and the groups that perform it. For example, Mozart re-orchestrated Messiah in 1789 and gave it the current classical standards vocals.  He wrote alterations to make an improvement to the work of Handel. The piece of work was influential, and the mode of performance moved the audience who became part of the vast work of Handel. For example, King George was moved by the “Hallelujah” chorus of the Messiah during the London premiere, and he rose to his feet that made the audience stand too.  This act was to honor the king because none would continue sitting when the king stood.  This also caused a lot of debate to the participants and many critics of the music who think that the newspapers might have exaggerated the matter.

Messiah stands in history among the greatest performances that were ever done. Being a musical part done at holiday times, it attracts a lot of people to schedule it to be performed over Christmas time though it was originally staged during Easter.  It was originally purposed to remind people of the way they had fallen and to help them realize the fate of their sins. The singers and the soloists propel the work with high emotional impact and uplifting messages that move the crowd. This music has been performed on various occasions including the annual London Handel Festival to appreciate his great work. His contribution to the London operas was great, and he instilled morals to the audience.

 

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After the Period of Silence

Sometimes we can never predict what will come our way, and I had no clue that I would have the major depressive disorder. I may have gone through a lot, which possibly triggered the unrest. But there is more to life, and I should probably smile more and take each day at a time.

I apologize for the long silence that I did not post anything for a long time. I know that my fans love consistency, but pardon me for being sick. The major depressive disorder is a common mental disorder in the US, with 7% of people over 18 years having an episode of the disease. You should probably watch your mood and behaviour because I don’t want you to go through what I went through.

So, about this major depressive disorder; what is the cause? A combination of genes and stress affects the brain chemistry, reducing the ability to maintain a stable mood. A change in hormonal balance may as well contribute to the development of the disorder. But no cause for alarm if you are handling your stress well, just don’t let it overwhelm you.

Symptoms of Mental Depressive Disorder

For you to understand further what the disorder entails and what I went through, and to get a better understanding of why I did not update my blog, below are the symptoms of depressive mental disorder;

  • You feel irritable or sad the better part of the day, close to everyday
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions and thinking
  • You lack energy and feeling unusually tired
  • Lack of interested in the activities or hobbies you were once enjoying
  • Restlessness feelings
  • Angry outbursts even over small matters
  • Weight loss and reduced appetite
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Disturbances in sleep including sleeping too much or insomnia
  • You think about committing suicide.

Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists criteria that for one to be diagnosed with the mental depressive disorder, they must meet at least five or more of the above symptoms.

The symptoms may have probably shocked you, especially the last one on committing suicide. No pressure, I don’t remember that crossing my mind, if that makes you feel better. I wouldn’t want you to miss my awesomeness. Psst! Just messing; true though.

Experiencing some of the symptoms above was not easy for me. For instance, relating some of them to my situation; I had difficulty concentrating on writing any piece which I may have deemed worthy of publishing. As much as I tried to push myself into the writing, I lacked interest which made me not give my all to ensure you read my content.

I was always tired and restless the better part of the day, and it was uncomfortable for me to finish any writing. I was mostly in a bad mood, and because moods have a special place in determining our output, who am I kidding? I could write a piece I was confident about.

Treatment

To most problems, there is a solution. I had to seek the necessary medication to handle my situation. I also got a chance to interact with psychotherapists. Many people suffering from this disorder do not seek medical assistance. It is advisable to find help since it can always get worse, and getting better takes the day.

Medication, psychotherapy, and change in lifestyle are therefore the primary ways of treating the major depressive disorder.

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The roads…

I posted some pics earlier last week about the Ringleaders vs the Ultras de Montreal match. I did a little film footage for Angelo from the Ringleaders to announce their upcoming season. Im really happy with the end result. I still am getting used to shoot video with a dSLR camera. Music is by Portishead and the track is called “Roads”. I found that it worked best with the slowed down footage.

InStock x Got Sole + Toddy Parc ave. ghetto story.

Yesterday, I hit up In Stock shop to go check out Toddy that runs the Got Sole consignment shoe store on Parc ave. A new shop that just opened up not to long ago. A combination of 2 stores. First is InStock, then its Got Sole. Very clean looking spot. Toddy already had a bunch of thievery stories. I knew that Parc ave. was somewhat ghetto with crackheads and all roaming in the area. I once got my biking gloves stolen in less than 5 mins of leaving them outside of Brakeless. Or also the day I saw a crackhead walk naked into the doorway of Sylvester’s shop. That’s how the Plateau is nowadays.  But Toddy had one crazy crook story about his laptop getting stolen. Ask him about it if you see him.

Under the bridge…

Last saturday, Sylvestre did a screening of the MACAFRAMA film by Colby Elrick and Colin Arlen. A beautifully shot fixed gear movie, all held in SF. The screening was under a bridge up in the mile end. Some ghetto/street setup. generator, Ghetto Blaster for the sound, projector, white sheet and some rocks and duck tape to hold it up! Also a bunch of good folks made it much sweeter.

The roads…

I posted some pics earlier last week about the Ringleaders vs the Ultras de Montreal match. I did a little film footage for Angelo from the Ringleaders to announce their upcoming season. Im really happy with the end result. I still am getting used to shoot video with a dSLR camera. Music is by Portishead and the track is called “Roads”. I found that it worked best with the slowed down footage.

Playoffs…

Thursday night, at the Saputo stadium, was the first leg of the quarter finals match between the Montreal Impacts vs the Charleston Battery. Our players held it tight for them and managed to score a very nice goal in the first half, scored by David Testo at the 10th min. The battery was a player down due to a red card. The 2nd half was a bit more tough for the Impacts but Rocco Placentino came in late at the end of the game and scored a superb goal from the left hitting the top post and in. The Ultras was present supporting our team and they were also loud. A little bit of push and shove between them and security but its all good. We need to win the 2nd match and head to semi-final.