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Handel Messiah

Westchester Lutheran Church

52nd Presentation of

G. F. Handel Messiah
Sunday, December 3, 2023
4:00 p.m.


Marshall Ramirez, Conductor

Emily Dyer, Soprano
Suzanne Lawrence, Alto
Eddie Sayles, Tenor
Johann Scram Reed, Bass

With Orchestra and Chorus from over 20 faith based community organizations

To purchase a ticket Click Here

7831 S. Sepulveda Boulevard • Westchester, CA 90045 • 310-670-5422

G.F. Handel Messiah

Origin: London 1741

Messiah is by far the most widely known and beloved work of George Frideric Handel (1685-1759).  And while it did not enjoy the status of many of his other works during his lifetime, the overwhelming popularity of Messiah eventually eclipsed almost every other Handel composition, remaining among the most popular works in Western choral literature.  The name of the oratorio is taken from the scriptural promise of he Messiah (the Anointed One).  The work is a presentation of Christ's life and its significance according to scripture.

In the summer of 1741, Handel, at the peak of his musical prowess, but depressed and deeply in debt, began setting Charles Jennens' biblical libretto to music at his usual breakneck speed.  Handel completed Messiah in a astonishing 23 days.  The work is scored for SATB soloists, SATB chorus, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets, timpani, strings, and basso continuo.

The premiere performance of Messiah was given in Dublin in the spring of 1742 to benefit several of Handel's favorite charities.  The concert was met with considerable success.  However, it was only through Handel's annual Eastertide performance to benefit these charities that Messiah was heard at all.  The work was not originally viewed as a Christmas tradition.  With its emphasis on Christian doctrine and faith, it was seen more as a timely spiritual observance for lent and Easter.

What Handel achieved in Messiah is a wonderful blend of elegant melody, alternating with virtuosity for the soloists, and for the chorus, unmatched choral vibrancy.  After more than 250 years, Messiah still holds its grip on musicians and audiences alike. It reaches to us with its beauty of expression and its ability to bestow on us a sense of spiritual renewal each time we experience it.

Handel died on April 14, 1759 and its buried in Westminster Abbey, London.