Enjoy this guest post by our Director of Music, Nicole Aldrich. Nicole is also the Director of Choral Activities at Washington University and will be leading our LOGOS class through Advent.
George Frederic Handel’s Messiah is perhaps one of the best-known and best-loved oratorios ever written for the Christmas season. Except that it wasn’t written for Christmas, and it’s not exactly a typical oratorio.
Okay, then, Dr. Smartypants (I can hear you saying), so what’s an oratorio? Why was Messiah written, if not for Christmas? Is it a concert piece or a religious work? (Yes.) And wait, isn’t it called The Messiah? (No.)
Messiah is a wonderful work of art, full of beautiful music and great drama. It was also intended in part to be a work of religious devotion and instruction, connecting ancient biblical prophecy with the person of Jesus Christ. In our upcoming LOGOS class “Celebrating Advent with Handel’s Messiah,” we will dig into this masterpiece, putting ourselves in the place of those who heard the prophecies for the first time, exploring the way the biblical texts come to life in the music, and studying the position of the work in Handel’s time and ours. We’ll read the scriptures and listen to the music, and perhaps through our discussion we’ll come to see this “Christmas” work in a whole new light. Join us!