Adele Gallogly

REFLECTIONS & REVIEWS

Handel’s Messiah—From Ache to Amen

2 Comments

I started this reflection years ago, fresh from my first experience of Messiah in concert, but kept feeling the pull to revisit and revise my thoughts.  I have now shared them as a post over at Relief Journal.  So if you’d like to read the entire piece, feel free to head over there.

*

From Ache to Amen

A few Decembers ago, I saw Handel’s acclaimed Messiah oratorio in concert for the first time. From our side balcony seats at the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, my friends and I had an overhead view of the choir as well as the orchestra stage. We could only see the backs of the interchanging soloists, which worried me a little. Would the experience be lessened by this limited view?  A few minutes into the show, however, I realized that we could see something that the coveted, pricier center section below could not: the face of the conductor.

This conductor was, in a word, animated. He waved his arms and wielded his baton with a wizard-like flourish to guide the skilled group of musicians. His face is what caught me, though. His features echoed the emotional tone of each movement—tight and serious in moments of lament, open and bright in moments of delight. He smiled during that famous chorus.

Anecdote has it that Handel’s own face was wet with tears after he wrote the Hallelujah chorus. His assistant came upon him crying at his desk and asked him: “What’s wrong?” To which Handel replied. “I thought I saw the face of God.”

After such a splendorous vision and satisfying creation, it is a wonder that Handel went on to write another act at all. Yet he did.

Continue reading.

Author: Adele Gallogly

I'm a writer and editor living in the lovely city of Hamilton, Ontario. By day, I write for World Renew, a relief and development agency; during evenings and weekends, I let short stories, essays, and other pieces out to play. I like to write about the intersection of faith, art, culture, and justice.

2 thoughts on “Handel’s Messiah—From Ache to Amen

  1. Pingback: The Slaughter of the Innocents « That's a Jenn Story

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s