Music which has attained an immortal popularity, imbued with a lasting attraction for people the world over.
“It was as if I witnessed the whole of Heaven opening up in front of me, and the great God personified”. Whether it was a flash of divine inspiration, or something completely different which struck Handel in the moment he composed the Hallelujah chorus in 1741, it inspired him to create music which has attained an immortal popularity, imbued with a lasting attraction for people the world over. As Christmas approaches, Oslo Concert Hall transforms to a secular music cathedral as we celebrate the masterpiece Messiah with Oslo Philharmonic Choir, renowned conductor Nathalie Stutzmann and a team of talented soloists.
Although Georg Friedrich Handel (1685 - 1759) and his contemporaries had a habit of composing swiftly, regularly and copiously, it seems extraordinary that it was possible to produce a work like Messiah so quickly. Handel is said to have spent twenty-four days on the entire work, and creative music historians have calculated that this implies that the composer, working ten hours a day, wrote fifteen notes a minute! Perhaps it is no wonder that believers have speculated on whether this might indeed have been a case of divine inspiration.
This seems even more impressive if you take into consideration the scale of the work, melodic richness and great expressive scope and contrasts. Next to the jubilatory Hallelujah chorus, there are endless favourites, including the tenor’s velvety soft Comfort Ye, the alto’s gripping He Was Despised, the bass soloist’s shattering The People that Walked in the Darkness, the soprano’s vibrant Rejoice Greatly, or the swelling choral parts such as For Unto Us a Child is Born and Glory to God.
Handel’s greatest genius arguably lay in employing his skills as an opera composer; as melodist, music dramatist and painter of words in order to create one of the most captivating, catchy and grandiose musical stories about the birth, death and resurrection of the world’s Saviour. It was pop 275 years ago - and it still is!
(Text: Thomas Erma Møller; Translation (from Norwegian): Sarah Osa; In photo: Nathalie Stutzmann; Photo: Simon Fowler)
- Adult: 100 - 470 NOK
- Senior: 100 - 375 NOK
- Student: 100 - 235 NOK
- Child: 100 NOK
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