Publisher: Mott Media
Item #: N369
Listening to, or participating in, the singing of Handel's Messiah is now as much a part of Christmas celebrations as the buying of gifts. And that experience will be richer yet for people who realize the series of miracles that were required to bring this oratorio into being.
While a lad of seven, Handel's barber-surgeon father assured him that he would rather his son's fingers be cut off than that he become a musician. To emphasize this, he burned all of the boy's musical toys in the fireplace. Nonetheless, young George Frideric continued to practice on a muted clavichord hidden in the attic.
Later, Handel had to overcome a paralysis of his right arm. Shortly before working on Messiah, he was so pressed for money he feared debtor's prison. Yet Providence brought him to that momentous time in his life. After composing the "Hallelujah Chorus," he exclaimed through tears to a servant, "I did think I did see all heaven before me, and the great God Himself!"
At the first London performance of the Messiah, King George II rose to his feet during the singing of the "Hallelujah Chorus," and since he was King, the rest of the audience rose with him. Thus began the custom which continues to this day.
Altogether, Handel composed as much music as the combined works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig Beethoven. Much of his music still lives to glorify the God whom Handel served with his great talent.