Sunday, December 23, 2012

Things I Want to Remember About Handel's Messiah

The first experience I had with the complete work of Handel's Messiah wasn't until I was a freshman in college and had the chance to play it with the Southwest Symphony in St. George, Utah. We took our performance on the road one evening: to Mesquite, Nevada, a small city of mostly retired snowbirds. After the performance, an old retired gentleman approached me and raved about the performance (and also how pretty I looked onstage, but that's besides the point :) ). " I am a retired blue collar worker," he said, "and I never had the chance to go to such beautiful events before. Thank you so much for your performance. Can I have your autograph?" I will never forget that moment. I was so happy that I was able to affect someone with the joy of music. 
After the winter semester ended, I returned come for Christmas, and was invited once more to perform with a small group in the historical Kaysville tabernacle, the one architectural wonder of the city (as deemed by my high school art history teacher). It was a beautiful experience.

Fast forward to seven months ago, as I was wandering around Westminster Abbey in London, with my touristy audio guide. I was guided to the burial place of George Friedrich Handel, and as I did, the audio guide began playing the beautiful soprano aria from Messiah, "I know that my Redeemer Liveth." It was extremely moving, and I knew that I was standing by the tomb of an inspired man.
Handel wrote his masterpiece in just 24 days. He rarely emerged from his room, with few breaks for food and water. He said to his servant as he finished, "I did think I did see Heaven before me and the great God himself!"
Just a few nights ago, we had the chance to see the National Symphony Orchestra perform Handel's Messiah on our last evening in Virginia, and I can't think of a better way to get in the Christmas spirit. We were extremely stressed because of moving, we were stuck in traffic, and Victor still hadn't received his official orders even though we were leaving in the morning, which naturally was stressful as well. We made it in the knick of time, and immediately as the music started, all of that stress just went away. It was incredibly beautiful, and I shed quite a few tears, as I tend to do a lot lately. I love how music has the ability to uplift you, and in the case of Messiah, help you feel closer to God. 
And, as one last memory, I'm glad I still live in a world where people stand when they hear the Hallelujah chorus. 

And, this is my favorite piece to listen to for Christmas time:

And this is my favorite for Easter:

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and Happy Sunday. 
Love, Annie

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