On Tuesday 14th April I went to see Handel’s Messiah at Westminster Abbey. The performance marked the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death and poignantly it was performed in the place in which he is buried.
It is the first time that I have seen the work performed in it’s entirety. I took part in a Messiah workshop last year with the choral society that I sing with. We spent the day rehearsing the piece and then performed it to an audience of friends and family in the evening. It was great fun and also my first attempt at a solo. Singing is something that I have always done, but only started doing it again recently after a break of five years.
My Great-Grandmother sang all her life, right into her 70’s and my Grandfather also sang and played the organ for many years. I have programmes of Messiah concerts that my Great-Grandmother took part in dating back to 1917 so it is exciting for me to watch or take part in something that she took part in over 80 years ago.
Westminster Abbey is a wonderful place to have a concert, the sound just carries right up into the roof. I haven’t been there since I was a child so we took the opportunity to have a wander round in the interval. I am amazed at how a the abbey was ever built. It is huge and the craftsmanship that would have gone into it, and the time it would have taken is amazing!
The choir sounded superb with really beautiful treble voices and the soloists were really good too. I particularly enjoyed the Tenor soloist, Paul Agnew. He had a very clear voice and his articulation and expressions really added to the atmosphere of the evening. He is going to be performing at Covent Garden this year in Acis and Galatea. At my last concert with the choral society we sang a couple of pieces from Acis and Galatea so I would like to see it being sung professionally and would also love to hear Paul Agnew sing again.
My mum asked me to bring my score with me so that she could follow the piece. It is interesting how differently people hear music and I think she got more out of the piece by following the score rather than being a passive listener. We have decided to try to attend the Messiah sing along at the Albert Hall in November. Whilst some people think that Messiah should not be performed on a larger scale, we both think that singing the Hallelujah chorus in the Albert Hall with several hundred other people would be quite an experience!