On Saturday the 7th of December 2013 the Carnegie Singers and
some choir members from choirs around West Cumbria sang Handel's
Messiah in front of an audience in St Johns Church in Workington.
The Messiah is an English language oratorio composed in 1741,
with a scriptural text complied by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible,
and from the Psalms included within the Book of Common Prayer. It was first
performed in Dublin on the 13th of April 1742 and it received its London
premier nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the
oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and
most frequently performed choral works in Western music.
Handel wrote Messiah for modest vocal and
instrumental forces, with optional settings for many of the individual numbers.
In the years after his death, the work was adapted for performances on a much
larger scale, with giant orchestras and choirs. In other efforts to update it,
its orchestration was revised and amplified by (among others) Mozart. In the
late 20th and early 21st centuries the trend has been towards reproducing a
greater fidelity to Handel's original intentions, although "big
Messiah" productions continue to be mounted. A near complete version is
issued on 78 rpm discs in 1928; since then the work has been recorded many