Monday, 8 December 2014

Hanover Band and Chorus: Messiah at St Nicholas Church, Arundel *****

Handel’s Messiah must be the most ill-used and mistreated masterpiece in the entire baroque canon. Whilst amateurs (sensibly) tend to steer clear of Bach, just about every choir and choral society in the land is happy ‘to have a go’ at Messiah. To hear it performed well by a group of consummate professionals, is the auditory equivalent of being dowsed with cold clear pure spring water.

Hanover Band ticked all the boxes at this performance. Period instruments played by musicians steeped in a love and respect for their craft and this music, a perfect balance of strings to woodwind, a subtle unobtrusive continuo of organ, harpsichord and cello, soloists who served the music and not their own egos; and perhaps best of all, a choir of young professional singers (mostly ex-collegiate I’m guessing), just four to a part, who allowed us to hear every voice of the fugal choruses in perfect balance, and every word of the text.

Musical Director Andrew Arthur managed to find the perfect tempo for every number, and controlled everything with languid style from the harpsichord. Music-making of this standard is joyful and uplifting. It serves Mr Handel extremely well in that it reminds us of what a great work this is. All Messiahs should be this way.

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