Monday, December 22, 2008


Hypothesis: the music of heaven will sound more like Handel's Messiah than Hillsong United.


My list of Christmas activities includes Handel's Messiah. There are many ways to experience it-- the updated, hip and rockin' versions, the sing-along varieties,the 300-voice youth choir Christmas programs, etc. My favorite was Messiah at the National Cathedral, but this year's experience might offer some competition to the Catheral.

On Friday night, Ryan and I caught Messiah at the Kennedy Center, complete with the most energetic and animated conductor I have ever seen (think Bug Bunny as Leopold...but worse) and a countertenor that sent people scrambling for their programs for confirmation when his voice soared through the concert hall. The Master Chorale of DC was incredible. And I worshiped.

My mom introduced sections of Messiah to me at a young age, so it has been a part of my Christmas experience for as long as I can remember. When the Young Messiah hit the shelves about twenty years ago, I was initially appalled at the idea of bringing drums and electric guitars into the orchestration. Until I started learning more about George Frideric Handel. Most relevantly, about how he would alter the music to fit the performers and would encourage the performers to embellish the score and make it "their own." Meaning that every performance of Messiah was unique. So I think Handel would probably love how people are re-imagining and re-interpreting his work today. (Ryan just said, "They made it suitable for Christians who can't stomach high art"- ouch. I'm not going to touch that one).

I also love the fact that he confronted controversy during the first performance of Messiah since sacred works were typically reserved for church environments. He took Messiah into a public venue and contributed the proceeds from the first performance to charity. I also love the text painting in the score. This guy was creative, innovative, and I like him.

I'm not sure what the music of heaven will sound like. Maybe there will be lots of different types of music because there are lots of different types of people and we are all created to worship God uniquely. I just know that I want to be in the same corner of heaven where Handel is writing the music.


At 12:32 AM, Blogger paint_pants said...

i'm voting for Whitaker and Rutter... so maybe we'll be neighbors

At 1:11 AM, Blogger Heather Z said...

Yeah, I was going to let you know about this:

But then won't be here.

And just as I started feeling proud of being snarky, realized, whoops, I won't be here, either. Oh well.

At 1:12 AM, Blogger Heather Z said...

Okay, I don't think that posted right. Basically, Master Chorale of DC performing Whitaker.

At 11:42 PM, Blogger paint_pants said...

oh well. I guess i'll just have to go to some Cathedral in London and settle for one of their concerts...

At 1:27 AM, Blogger Heather Z said...

Do I detect a bit of snark in your tone? :)


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