A change of mood
It was heartening to see so many people at our recent recital Songs of Solace. We felt we had maybe struck a chord with a programme of music that acknowledged the grief and loss brought by the pandemic. Now we feel that, although the pandemic is far from over, a Hallelujah or two are in order!
So it is a delight to switch moods, and to celebrate the return of live music-making. We do so by performing one of the greatest choral works of all time, Handel’s Messiah.
This extraordinary oratorio, with its iconic Hallelujah chorus, its history of fund-raising for charity, and its frequent performance by countless choral societies, has reached further into the national consciousness than any other.
Messiah resonates at almost any point in the year. But it sits firmly in the minds of many as integral to their annual preparations for Christmas.
The opening invocation ‘Comfort ye’ – never more welcome than now – seems to light the Advent candle in the winter darkness more poignantly than one could possibly imagine.
The work covers not just the foretelling of the coming of Christ and his birth. It also tells of his Suffering and Death, his Resurrection and Ascension – the full, and rather remarkable, life-cycle!
Yet despite all this, the overwhelming feeling that this amazing music leaves us with is of the humanity of its subject – once a baby, and then ‘a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’. This is emotionally intelligent, empathetic music, composed by someone who understood the human condition.
This performance is given with organ, rather than orchestral, accompaniment. At the time of planning we were unable to predict whether conditions would allow space for an orchestra. We feel this has proved a wise decision. We hope that on this occasion you will enjoy hearing the glory of the Minster’s famous Harrison & Harrison organ deployed on all the familiar arias and choruses. We’re grateful to Tom Moore for agreeing to undertake this herculean task.
Our soloists – Ruby Hendry, Esther Colman, Christopher Trenholme and Quentin Brown – and St Peter’s Singers are directed by Alex Woodrow.
We very much hope to welcome you to this concert. Tickets are available below or at the door: £15, Concessions £12, (Free FTE / Under-18). A glass of wine or juice and a free programme is included in the price.
Leeds Minster is a seemingly well-ventilated (!) and spacious building allowing you to space out if you wish. We simply request that, in line with its policy, you wear a face-covering on entering and leaving the building.