It’s Christmas! May the day bring light and joy to you, whoever you are, wherever you are!
(I personally tend to associate Handel’s Messiah more with Easter than Christmas, but I’ve noticed the great oratorio making more of a Christmas presence in recent years. This particular performance is rather idiosyncratic, recorded in 1959 and conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. Musical purists would likely cringe at this now, were it to be offered as something new, because the work was re-orchestrated by Eugene Goosens, a friend of Beecham’s, who wanted to record a spectacular version of Handel’s work touched up for the modern symphony orchestra in the still-new “Hi-Fi” age. The result–a Messiah for gigantic forces, with percussion that Handel would never have actually employed–is absolutely contrary to the standards of fidelity to composers’ intent and constraints of the time period that we enjoy today, but even so, the Beecham Messiah is somehow a classic all on its own, by virtue of its excesses instead of in spite of them. Anyway, there it is.)
And finally, here’s one of my favorite Christmas hymns, performed in 2012 by the talented folks at my college’s main rival!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!