Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Messiah in the Crypt

The Crypt, Canterbury Cathedral
24th November, 2012

I went along to hear the Canterbury Cantata performing Handel's Messiah after Phil Self (from Cocos Lovers) mentioned that he's now singing with them.

I think I'd have preferred it in Latin, as those words in English just seem a bit daft these days. I doubt very much there were many fervent believers in the (mostly polite, elderly, well off) audience. And I'm not sure about the style of singing, e.g.

"And every valley will be exaaaa-aaa-a-aaa-aaa-a-a-a-aaaaaaaa-a-a-a-aaaaaaa-aalted"

That reminds me of that ridiculously overdone "R&B" singing to have come out of the States in recent years, although on a couple of occasions it reminded me of Robin Williamson's extraordinary singing with the Incredible String Band on songs like "Three is a Green Crown".

Everyone seemed to know to stand up during the "Hallelujah" bit (as if it were a national anthem, or the Queen had just walked in). Not sure what that's about — some kind of tradition? We got to do that twice, as they encored with a repeat "Hallelujah".

A couple of wobbly soloists, but otherwise I couldn't fault it. Awesome acoustics (in the pre-80s sense of that adjective) a purely sonic level it was like having a wonderfully refreshing bath for a couple of hours.

[postscript:] I've since discovered that Slapp Happy and Henry Cow's 1975 joint album Desperate Straights contains this excerpt from The Messiah (apparently from Isiah 50:6)!


Anonymous SRB said...

he gave his back to the smiters!
he gave his back to the smiters!
and his cheeks to them that pluck-ed off the hairs and his cheeks to them that pluck-ed off the hairs his cheeks to them that pluck-ed off the hairs! he hid not his face from shame and spitting he hid not his face from shame, from shame and spitting!!!

10:58 PM  

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