Monday, November 22, 2010

Flash choir...

ASM286 linked to this Random Act Of Culture that took place at the downtown Macy's in Philadelphia, with its historic Wanamaker Organ:



Miss Manners Trivia Question:
Q: Why do we stand for the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel's Messiah?

A: Because we just frickin' do, you ignorant savage!
Seriously, if I had to talk the aliens out of blowing us up, and the only tool I had was a CD player, and Ludwig Van's 9th was unavailable, Handel's Messiah would be my second choice.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, great stuff.

Matt
St Paul

og said...

I'd probably have to throw "Fugue in D minor" in there, but no higher than third. The Toccatta part is annoying but the Fugue is, for me, soul-lifting.

Not an easy task, given my soul.

kishnevi said...

Talking about making a joyful noise--from the liner notes of one of the recordings of MessiahI have:

In 1859 the Great Handel Commeration Festival to celebrate the centenary of his death used a chorus of 2765 and an orchestra of 460...the "Grand National Celebration of Peace" in the same city [Boston] in 1869 featured the Hallelujah Chorus with no less than 10,000 voices and 500 instruments. A complete performance by Damrosch in New York was given witha choir of 1200 (supplemented by 1300 young ladies and 250 boys) and 250 instruments.

Said recording (Gardiner's) being HIP, it features a chorus and orchestra of 32 members each.

For purposes of pwning aliens, I would sit down them down, play Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, followed by Mahler's Ninth and Beethoven's Hammerklavier, and then ask what they've done for the universe lately.

og said...

I've just been informed by a chorister friend of mine that you stand for the Hallelujah Chorus because it is the best way to get the utmost lung power and best sustain into the notes.

JohnW said...

We stand because King George did. Thus are traditions born.

ASM826 said...

We might stand because the music touches us in ways that there are no words to describe and hearing it makes us better than we are, if just for those moments.

Borepatch said...

We stand for the same reason that we leave the bottom button of our waistcoat unbuttoned, and don't say in polite society that the next Queen of England looks like a horse.

Sometimes you just have to humor royalty.

As to music, I would put in a vote for Wagner's "Prelude und Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde, perhaps the loveliest music I've ever heard. I believe it was Mark Twain who said that Wagner is better than he sounds, and this piece is the proof point.

Fred said...

Doing the first half with the city Symphony Orchestra weekend after next (for choir.) Should be fun.

mulecal said...

Borepatch--I've always thought that Charles has a remarkably equine look about him. Same with his sister, too.

If it's Wagner you want, I'd go with the end of Die Meistersinger, Act II--the riot scene

kishnevi said...

wait, that last was me. Don't know how my name morphed into the WV, but there is it

Anonymous said...

Handel was having a manic episode when he wrote Messiah, and he completed it in only 24 days.

Today his symptoms could be controlled ....

(One of my favorite pharma ads from the 70's)

Ken said...

Seriously, if I had to talk the aliens out of blowing us up, and the only tool I had was a CD player, and Ludwig Van's 9th was unavailable, Handel's Messiah would be my second choice.

And if I were part of the gallant last-ditch flights of F-18s (or heck, P-40s a la Sky Captain, which let's face it would be even cooler) taking on the alien mothership, I'd want Wagner's Lohengrin, Act III Prelude. I'd take my flight in when the trombones picked up the main figure -- up on the right wingtip and "Forward, the Light Brigade!" :-)

Joe in PNG said...

Handel is about the only "Christmas" music I can stand. One does get a bit fed up with endless remakes of the same half dozen songs.

And for "Music to Save the World By", I've gotta put "Smoke on the Water" on that list...
Not classical, but classic.

LabRat said...

I would have answered, "Because if you don't want to you're very sick or dead".

I feel the same way about the Ode to Joy, which also makes me want to sing in German.

nbc said...

@ Borepatch

I think that this young lady might be our future Queen.

Justthisguy said...

N.B. labRat claims to be an atheist. Good music can give you a hint of the divine.(The guy who owns SociopathWorld.com has admitted to this.)

Sadly, the church I attend, though very good in every other way, has absolutely suckily horrible bad newage (rhymes with sewage) music, and it is electronically amplified, too.

I do wish I didn't have to wear ear plugs while attending Divine Services.

theirritablearchitect said...

May as well throw in something by Herr Mozart, to round out the trifecta.

Anonymous said...

@Justthisguy - Lol with you on the 'newage' at Gottesdienst. All the goofy music in churches is entirely self-idolotry intended to take our thoughts away from the Cross and onto instead the altar of our own entertainment. The right preaching of Law and Gospel is too often supplanted by self-help kumbaya crap.


@Tam - I stand during Handel's "Messiah" out of tradition, but also for the same reason our church stands for the reading of the Gospel. I have the Sunday School kids listen to the "Messiah" while reading the passages from Revelations so they will always associate hearing the song (even as Muzak) with the Word of God.

And, prior to your posting, I was completely unaware of a contingent of society that deliberately sits during the high praise of our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Now I have another reason to always stand up when I hear it -- just to put my butt in their face in a socially acceptable manner.

Nathan said...

Good God!

If one is an ardent secularist who won't stand for Hallelujah, why would one even bother attending a performance of Messiah?

The mind boggles.

Fodder4Thought said...

Everything on the list is good, but I'd like to throw in Vivaldi's Concerto for 4 Violins in B Minor, and large chunks of Mozart's Requiem. Actually, make that all of it.

Take THAT, you stupid aliens.

And if it doesn't work, at least humanity will have fitting music to go out to.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Tallis "If ye Love Me" and the "O Nata Lux" by Mortin Lauridsen are up there for pure choral beauty, IMHO. Or the "Nunc Dimmitis" from Rachmaninoff's "Vespers." (I don't have my recording here to get the Russian title, sorry). As an atheist friend said, "It's hard not to believe in whatever inspired him to write that."
LittleRed1

Mike M said...

Dear Tam:

Any friend of Brigid's is a friend of mine. I think I'm in love.

In any case, Handel wrote Messiah in 24 days in 1741, but this was simply normal for him. Unlike those of us who compose but have day jobs, that was what he did. We stand because when the King of England first heard the Hallelujah (it means "praise ye the Lord") Chorus, he stood, and of course, when the King stood, everyone stood. No one knows why he stood, but it has since become tradition. It just feels right.

The work was first performed in Dublin Ireland in April of 1742, so it was originally intended to be performed around Easter, which, considering the subject matter of the Oratorio, makes perfect sense, but again, it has become tradition to perform it for Christmas.

As a classically trained musician, I perform Messiah at least twice a year, and while I have the opportunity to perform the works of all the masters, there is something special about Messiah and all will be.

Here's to you, Tam!

Hobie said...

Thanks for bringing my mom back for a few minutes...

Tam said...

Ooh! There's more!

How about a bit of Carmen at the mall? :)

jed said...

Classical music is fine, but what if the aliens go for Baroque?

I'll nominate Symphony #3, 'Organ', by Camille Saint-Saens.

Charlie Foxtrot said...

Mein Gott! How could you even think about welcoming our new alien overlords without having a sextet of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos in your quiver?

Philistines! Community Organizers!