Thursday, May 29, 2014

Paris Note: Stripped-down Messiah

I mentioned that concert at  l’église Saint-Eustache although I didn't mention, like, you know, the concert.  But it's worth a word: the performance was Handel's Messiah. The hook was that it was a stripped-down version,with an orchestra of perhaps 20 and a chorus of about the same size.   Suppose to replicate, or at least resemble, what it might have been like in Handel's own day, perhaps even at its first performance in Dublin, where the musical resources would have been more 

The actual performance here was, shall we say, somewhat lacking in polish, but no big deal.  It's (almost) always fun to hear one of the war horses in an antique venue, and I think they got their point across about the virtues of the stripped down model. Having heard my first Messiahs back in the area when the musicians arrived by battalions, I can relate.

For comparison, and for the sheer fun of it, here's a rather different Messiah --this from Vienna, where the Germans so often feel they have to lard up the music with some sort of wacky modernism.  I don't get it but mostly because I didn't watch--just left the sound on and reduced the screen.  I thought the music lovely, even if not of the stripped-down 1740s variety:

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