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Handel and Christmas

FINDING REFUGE AND STRENGTH - Dr. Harold J. Sala (The Philippine Star) - December 21, 2014 - 12:00am

In Westminster Abbey lies the sarcophagus of a German musician to whom every music lover is indebted, especially in the Christmas season. His name? George Frideric Handel, one of the most talented yet maligned musicians ever to pen a note on paper. Why was he maligned? Most probably because Handel was a foreigner living in England who spoke English poorly and blended it with Italian, German and French. He was also overweight and wore an oversized wig.

Yet this man gave us “Messiah,” one of the most inspiring, touching renditions of what Christmas is about that the world has ever known. In 1741, shortly before he wrote the famous oratorio, Handel considered giving up and returning to Germany. He was nearly broke, but instead of giving up, he turned to God and began writing, using themes and verses that were dear to his heart.

This magnificent work was completed in 24 days as Handel wrote almost nonstop, never going out of his house, often leaving the food he was served untouched, papers strewn all over his study. While he was writing the “Hallelujah Chorus,” his servant discovered him in tears. Handel exclaimed, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself.”

When the Messiah was performed for the first time in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin in 1742, the King caught a glimpse of what Handel saw as well, rising to his feet and remaining standing for the duration of the magnificent “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Listen to the message: “And he shall reign forever and ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end,” and realize that the angels who proclaimed the announcement of Jesus’ birth in the shepherds’ field will forever echo that message.

 

 

CHORUS CHRISTMAS GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL GERMAN AND FRENCH GOD HIMSELF HALLELUJAH CHORUS HANDEL IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY ST. PATRICK WHEN THE MESSIAH
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