In preparation for this weekend’s performance of Messiah by George Frideric Handel, I wanted to write a post that gave listeners a unique insight into it. There are so many outstanding things about this piece that people should know about: its high esteem throughout history among composers in every era, including Mozart; the fact that it was entirely composed in an astounding four weeks; that Handel, who had earlier in life suffered a debilitating stroke, considered his writing of Messiah to be the purpose of his recovery. However in this holiday season I find the most fitting story that can be told about Messiah is what Handel considered the work to be, and what he intended it to be used for.
To the sponsors of the first performance of the oratorio, Handel stipulated that profits from this and all future performances of Messiah “be donated to prisoners, orphans, and the sick. I have myself been a very sick man, and am now cured,” he said. “I was a prisoner, and have been set free.”
Following the first London performance of Messiah, a patron congratulated Handel on the excellent “entertainment.”
“My lord, I should be sorry if I only entertained them,” Handel humbly replied. “I wish to make them better.”
When you attend the concert this weekend, enjoy the great performance put on by these very talented musicians, but also take the time to allow this singular work to Uplift and Inspire you. Listen to the message of the music. Consider the power of inspiration, and let it lead you, lead us all, to be better.