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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down)

For this fourth Sunday of Advent 2015, a lively version of one of the most beautiful choruses ever written (from George F. Handel's 1742 oratorio Messiah):

All the words of Messiah are taken directly from the King James Version of the Bible.  This chorus uses the words of Isaiah 9:6.

Personal note:

"For unto Us a Child Is Born" was the first chorus I ever sang when, by audition, I was chosen at the age of 13 to be an alto member of the Choral Arts Society of Washington, under the baton of Maestro Norman Scribner (full biography HERE).  God bless Norman for taking a chance on an ignorant kid like me to give me the opportunity to join a premiere choral group and open up for me a world of music I'd never have known otherwise!


  1. That really IS one of the most vigorous, full-blooded, brilliant, joyful and finely executed renditions I've ever heard of this famous chorus.

    Did the Washington Choral Arts Society under Norman Scribner make this recording? If not whoever it was deserves full credit.

    What an enlivening way to begin Christmas! Thank you so much for making this available.

    Great Music –– along with Art, Literature, Architecture, Great Gardens, Great Food, and the Awesome Beauty of Nature –– provide a series of OASES in the parched desert that is earthly life.

    Isn't it a shame that the great majority would, apparently, rather dine on SAND than to partake of God's Abundant Gifts to mankind!

    1. FT,
      The Choral Arts Society of Washington under Norman Scribner performed "For unto Us a Child Is Born" with exactly this same vigor and clarity of diction (Never mind how many voices the CAS had in the main choir!).

      The video in this blog post is not a Choral Arts Society of Washington recording, however. I have been unable to discover which group did the recording presented here.

    2. When Norman conducted "For unto Us a Child Is Born," the audience's reaction was one of total approbation. Moreover, I think that we choristers enjoyed this particular chorus the most when we performed Messiah.

      I miss Maestro Scribner. With his passing -- and the earlier passing of composer/conductor Richard Wayne Dirksen, under whose baton I also performed -- Washington, D.C., lost two of the greatest choral directors of all time.

  2. I included this number as one of my pieces done as a teenager. Not as in such as prestigious group as yours, but in a Moravian Church choir. We struggled mightily and think we did quite a nice job. Still try to find a group sing along of the Messiah each year.

    1. Try to find then listen to an old recording of Messiah by The Huddersfield Choral Society conducted by Malcolm Sargent, and you'll get a very similar effect.

  3. Same image I used in the Christmas program I wrote this year..cool!
    And yes, VERY lively Messiah! The Christian faith of Handel is under discussed...and fascinating.

  4. This is what happens to a liberal's face when you tell them you're a Trumpsta!


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