Trevor Pinnock explores Handel’s Messiah, one of the greatest choral works of all time, in his new videoblog series ‘My Baroque’. In the episode, ‘Opera Singers Welcome’, Trevor Pinnock reveals why he chose opera singers and remembers performing Messiah at the University Church in Salzburg. John Tomlinson arrived late for the rehearsal, straight after the Bayreuth festival, and walked into the church in long flowing clothes and with long hair looking like a figure out of the old testament! Trevor recalls, “He sang with his fabulous big voice – I thought it was wonderful.”
In the following episode, ‘Work Of Faith And Drama’, Trevor Pinnock describes how, over the years, his own feeling about Messiah has changed. He first performed Messiah very much as a monumental religious work, and of course it is deeply religious, but he now realises so much more about the dramatic qualities. In the final episode Trevor Pinnock reimagines the first performance and notes that, “The music is as alive today as it was in 1742.”
Trevor Pinnock is renowned world-wide as a conductor and harpsichordist who pioneered the modern revival of early music performance. He made many highly acclaimed recordings for Archiv Produktion on period instruments from the 1970s until the 1990s including Handel’s Messiah.
“One of the freshest and most exciting Messiahs on CD”
A true classic of historically informed performance practice, Trevor Pinnock’s 1988 recording of Handel’s Messiah with the English Concert and Choir is one of the finest versions available to offer authentic instruments and lively, embellished singing that is idiomatic to the Baroque period. The superb soloists are soprano Arleen Augér, contralto Anne Sofie von Otter, countertenor Michael Chance, tenor Howard Crook, and bass John Tomlinson. BBC Music Magazine described Trevor Pinnock’s recording of Handel’s Messiah as, “One of the freshest and most exciting Messiahs on CD reconciling ‘authentic’ practice with the work’s undoubted scope for grandeur. Superb soloists.”
Handel composed Messiah, an English language oratorio depicting the story of Jesus Christ, in 1741. Messiah was first performed at the New Music Hall in Dublin on 13 April 1742. After an initially modest public reception the oratorio gained in popularity and eventually became one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral pieces in Western music. Handel created the work based on three concepts: the story of the nativity and its prophecy; that of the crucifixion and redemption of mankind; and a commentary on the Christian soul and its victory over death. The ‘Hallelujah’ chorus is one of the most famous pieces of Baroque choral music and the most widely known section of the work. Though it was originally written for Easter, Handel’s Messiah has become the staple work of the Christmas season. Celebrate Christmas by experiencing the story of Christ through one of the greatest choral works of all time – Handel’s Messiah.
Trevor Pinnock’s recording of Handel’s Messiah can be bought here.