Every year, Taylor's family attends a Seattle performance of Messiah in Benaroya Hall and we have been lucky enough to have an organization like the Handel and Haydn society to facilitate our continuing the tradition. Before I met T's family I'd only ever head parts of the performance in movies or on the radio occasionally.
It's an amazing piece of music. I confess that I don't like everything about it--the florid arias throughout can sometimes seem a bit much to my taste... but there are certain parts, phrases of a few notes or whole pieces that thrill me every time. The soprano this year was one of the best we've heard, and the clear, smooth note of her voice rang out high and bright like crystal "Come unto Him all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and He will give you rest."
But the piece that thrills my soul the most is the Amen. It's somewhat ironic, because all it says in the text they hand out is:
Oh, that Amen (3:50). There is so much in that one word the way Handel wrote it. I want to stand up and sing it with the chorus at the end: "Yes! I believe!" That Amen makes all the florid aria well worth it. It makes the clapping at the end more vigorous, and it makes everyone truly appreciate the chorus, no matter how great the soloists were.
It was a great production, and I'm glad to have gone another year.
But all I have to show for our whole wonderful evening is pictures of Symphony Hall and a few very cool instruments. Not bad, really, but still not very descriptive of the performance.