12 Dec 2020

HANDEL Messiah – Parts Two & Three

From Music Alive, 8:00 pm on 12 December 2020
Soprano Anna Leese at NZSO Messiah 2020

Soprano Anna Leese at NZSO Messiah 2020 Photo: Screenshot NZSO/Latitude Creative

Performed by Anna Leese (soprano), Sarah Court (mezzo), Frederick Jones (tenor), Robert Tucker (bass), The Tudor Consort, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gemma New.

Part Two – Christ’s Passion, is the darkest and perhaps most dramatic of the three acts of Handel's Messiah - dealing with the Easter story of the passion and death of Christ, with the choruses 'Behold the Lamb of God' and 'Surely he hath borne our griefs', and the alto aria 'He was despised'. But it also ends with the resurrection, and the famous 'Hallelujah' chorus.

There’s a tradition of the audience standing during this chorus. The story goes that King George II, attending the London première, was so moved by the 'Hallelujah' chorus that he stood up. And following protocol, if the king stands, everyone stands. No one is really sure whether the king stood up because he liked the music or for some other reason entirely, or even if he was actually at the première, but the tradition has stuck. And for this performance – the audience is encouraged not only to stand but also to sing along.

After a short break, the performers launch into Part Three - The Resurrection of Christ, and the prophesied second coming. It opens with one of Handel's greatest tunes, the soprano solo ‘I know that my redeemer liveth’ and ends with the terrific bass aria 'The trumpet shall sound' and the final chorus 'Worthy is the Lamb'.

Recorded 12 December 2020, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ Concert

Producer: David McCaw

Engineer: Darryl Stack

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