Good Friday: He Was Despised and Rejected (Handel)

I actually sang Erbarme Dich, Mein Gott at this morning’s Good Friday service, and had every intention of posting it here.  But as I was sitting at my desk, writing about last night’s Maundy Thursday service in more detail, Mayhem, who shall henceforth be surnamed The Liturgy Cat, walked across my keyboard and somehow managed to switch on Handel’s Messiah.  This is impressive on two counts; first, I have no idea how she managed to start something playing in iTunes without, apparently, leaving the Firefox browser window, and second, I had no idea I even had a recording of The Messiah on my computer…

Anyway, The Liturgy Cat has spoken, so the Messiah we must have.  And for Good Friday, there can be only one choice.  Actually, that’s not true – there’s quite a bit of Good Friday stuff in The Messiah, but ever since I heard Bejun Mehta sing He Was Despised and Rejected, no other version can ever compete.  I’m afraid it’s spread across two videos, but it’s absolutely worth it to click on video number two, which is where Mehta demonstrates ornamentation so perfect that I and my alto friends can only swoon in envy.

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Handel’s Messiah: Rejoice Greatly!

As anyone who has looked at the front page of this blog recently will know, I’m singing the soprano solos for a Sing Your Own Messiah production in a couple of weeks.  This is the first time I’ve sung a ‘set’ of solos for an oratorio or opera or anything really.  It’s also the first time I will have sung in a production of the Messiah, so I’m pretty excited about it on a lot of levels.

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Come Away Death (Roger Quilter)

I’ve only discovered Quilter recently, mostly because there was a book of his art song available at the Allans sale a few weeks ago and I was seduced by the prospect of singing Shakespeare’s poetry.  My friendly salesperson, who is a fellow lover of Purcell and 19th century French opera, eyed my choice with disfavour.  “Well… it’s very… pretty,” he finally said, clearly attempting diplomacy. And so it is…

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