This archived article was written by: Nathan Manley
This year marks the 65th anniversary of Handel’s “Messiah,” performed in Carbon County. On Sunday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m., USU Eastern Professor Russell Wilson, will conduct the Price Civic Chorale and USU Eastern Chamber Choir, at Price Civic Auditorium. The annual production will ring in the Christmas season and holiday spirit for students and members of the community.
George-Frideric Handel, a Baroque-period composer, was known for writing operas, oratorios and organ concertos. Handel emerged as a dramatic genius, quickly achieving fame and riches. But his early success, ultimately acted as a dual-edged sword. He was often accused of being stuck in a creative rut, writing unoriginal and repetitious music, thought to be too similar to his earlier works, which ironically brought the onset of fame and fortune. Handel slumped into a deep depression due to this onslaught of criticism and wrote flop after flop.
Eventually, Handel abandoned writing new operas. But a wealthy landowner named Charles Jennens, who had hired Handel in the past, insisted that he write a new oratorio based on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In a letter from Jennens wrote to a mutual friend, he said “I hope Handel will lay out his whole genius and skill upon it, that the composition may excel all his former compositions, as the subject excels every other subject. The subject is Messiah.” Handel agreed to compose in hopes of pulling himself out of his artistic depression. But at the time, one would never have guessed it would be his crowning achievement.
It took Handel 23 days to write the orchestration, choruses and recititations, and after a limited number of rehearsals, “The Messiah” premiered in Dublin, 1741. G. F. Handel was truly a master, proving once again his compositional skill, after a questionable career.
Wilson understands the significance of Handel’s musical and artistic contribution to mankind. He can accurately interpret the music to bring to light the powerful emotions of hope, peace and mercy to give the audience a bone-chilling experience.
In addition to the choir, Wilson has invited down two guest solo trumpeters, Bob Peterson and Ken Tingey, to perform with the orchestra. Vocal soloists have yet to be named.
Handel’s “Messiah” has inspired many since its debut, and will continue to uplift with the eternal message of hope. Join the holiday celebration on Sunday, Dec. 2 at the Price Civic Auditorium, at 7:30 p.m.