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.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Friday Fun: When I have often heard young maids complaining (Purcell)

I know, I know, it’s more Purcell.  Anyone would think I had no imagination at all.  But the thing with Purcell is that if you are looking for gorgeous church music, there he is, writing it.  If you are looking for delicate, beautiful artsong, there’s Purcell again, writing that, too.  If you are looking for opera, or drunken rounds with impeccable music, he’s your man.

So it’s hardly a surprise that when you are in search of hilariously funny opera – in English, too, which does give us more scope, don’t you think? – Purcell is one of the names that comes up.

Incidentally, if you are watching this at work, you may want to switch it off as soon as the initial aria is finished.  The aria itself is mildly naughty, but the naughtiness is largely from the words.  What happens after the aria is probably not something you want the boss watching over your shoulder.  (There’s no nudity, but it is still decidedly not safe for work)

Continue reading

Advent Calendar Day 7: There Is No Rose of Such Virtue

Given that I’m coming up with a post a day during Advent, I was going to put my Friday Fun on hiatus… but on reflection, that didn’t sound like much fun at all, so instead, I’m going to devote Fridays in Advent to interpretations of carols that are just plain weird.  And what could be weirder than Sting singing medieval Advent Carols?

Continue reading