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Relayed from York Minster
S.B. from Leeds
THE LEEDS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Conducted by Dr. E. C. BAIRSTOW
Chorus consisting of The MINSTER Choir, THE York MUSICAL SOCIETY, and LEEDS PHILHARMONIC Choir
ELSIE SUDDABY (Soprano)
MURIEL BRUNSKILL (Contralto)
WALTER HYDE (Tenor)
ARTHUR CRANMER (Baritone)
As an alternative to the terms 'High-brow' and Low-brow,' one critic has suggested ' Serious Music' and ' Music of Entertainment.' Were these adopted, no one would have any doubt at the present day in which category the Messiah should be placed. Just over one hundred years ago, however, it was denounced, as were its creator and the performers of it, by one worthy divine, on the score that it ' made an entertainment of the sufferings of Our Lord.' There were even sober-minded citizens who regarded the performance of the Messiah as the direct cause of the great Fire of Edinburgh-a judgment like that which fell upon Gomorra.
Now universally regarded in this country as the sacred music above all others which is appropriate to Christmas, it is much too well known to need more than the briefest reminder of its scope. It is so long that it is now never given in full. There are three parts, the first beginning with an Orchestral Overture, and including another little orchestral movement called 'A Pastoral Symphony.' in front of the soprano solo, 'There were shepherds.' The second part deals with the Atonement and finishes with the great ' Hallelujah ' Chorus.
The third, beginning with the soprano air, 'I know that my Redeemer liveth,' is the most dramatic section of the work, leading up to the triumphant bass solo, 'The trumpet shall sound, and the two choruses, ' Worthy is the Lamb ' and * Amen.'
It was performed for the first time in Dublin in April, 1742. Handel was making a short stay in Ireland and arranged the performance specially for the benefit of various charities. It was not heard in England until nearly a year later, March, 1743, in Covent Garden Theatre. After these performances Handel revised it considerably, re-writing whole parts of it. It has since been edited and altered by various hands, and Mozart's additional accompaniments have been almost universally used since his day.
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