Comparing The Arguments For And Against The Performance Of Handel's Messiah
1990 Words8 Pages
What are the arguments for and against the performance of Handel’s Messiah with Mozart’s additional accompaniments? Should these accompaniments be left on the library shelf, in your view, or do they have a place in the 21st-century concert repertoire?
For many years, musicians and vocalists worldwide have been performing Messiah. A piece that has been composed and re-created many times, by Handel himself and his peers and fellow composers. Messiah is an English- language Oratorio composed initially by Handel that has grown more popular over the years due to the rise in historically informed performance and the need to recreate a piece that has been put on the library shelf for too long and play it as it would have been played in the composers…show more content… Handel was trained in a German church who then developed into a very successful opera composer following his move to London. He also did not have the opportunity to work with the instruments that Mozart could and the original orchestra was made up of trumpets, drums, strings and basso continuo. This meant Handel could not write the depth of sound that Mozart could with his additional instruments (Delouse, V. 2012). Handel's Messiah give the sense of trouble-free music with no clouding to the vocalists who are extremely trusted with embellishments and their solos. Handel wrote Messiah for a modest amount of musicians and vocalists meaning it could be recreated easily. After his death, Messiah was rearranged on a grander scale so it could be performed at larger concerts halls with giant choirs such as the 1784 commemoration of Handel, which took place 25 years after his death and saw 525 people perform Messiah. This set of a tradition of performing Messiah on a grand scale which are still being recreated to this day. Handel's Messiah plays with the idea of improvisation in the da capo aria and towards the cadences as he lets them interpret the music for themselves and sing what most comfortable or them. Mozart did not do this and doubled the vocalists with instrumentation so they were not free to add personal embellishments and flourishes. This…show more content… 1991, pg 51). Mozart, with the authority of Baron van Swieten, swapped around the vocalists who sang different solos. Although the additional accompaniments change the mood and tone of some of the sections many people were open to a new richer and more colourful sounding Messiah even if some parts were disliked. Mozart's Messiah was much more elaborate and distinct compared to the original. This displeased some people who were fans of the original, simple Messiah that felt it should be left untouched. (Frick, T. 2007). Mozart also confessed that he was in awe of Handel and the ability he had with music saying 'Handel knows better than any of us what will make an effect' and also 'When he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt'. (Kandell, J. 2009). Mozart did not want people to think that he was trying to improve of Handel's Messiah but just 'modernise' it for the era that he was living in and show his personal passion towards