I just heard from my friend, Ron Greidanus, that the Georgetown Bach Chorale will be doing its rendition of Handel's Messiah again this year in Goderich (and elsewhere). From their website:
Christmas doesn’t seem complete without the Chorale’s annual
presentation of Handel’s most innovative oratorio “Messiah”.
Come and enjoy highly spirited choruses, lyrical arias and the
very dramatic interpretation of this timeless work. This platter of
audible delicacies is not to be missed. In this musical feast, with
two harpsichords, Baroque organ, period strings -including viola
da gamba- and transcendental choral and solo work, the Bach
Chorale creates an evening designed to make Advent complete.
Saturday November 17, 2012
North United Church, Goderich 7:30 pm. $25. Students $10.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Christ Church Anglican 4 Elizabeth St. North, Brampton [update: 4pm].
Friday, November 23, 2012
St. Elias Ukrainian Church, 10193 Heritage Rd., Brampton 8 pm.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
St. Elias Ukrainian Church, 10193 Heritage Rd., Brampton 3 pm.
Ron's interpretations and performance will blow you away. In Goderich, the ticket prices are $25 ($10 for students). For the remaining performances, the prices are $30/$10. I really, REALLY recommend it.
Here, in part, is a review I wrote of the group's performance two [update: six] years ago:
I heard a performance of Handel's Messiah last weekend that was by far the most exciting I have ever heard. It wasn't perfect (so how many live performances are?) but the interpretations of tempos and styles were terrific, and the performance was technically among the best I have ever heard. [much quicker tempos for some sections, and much more staccato than many people would expect, but all well-researched by the conductor]
The conductor/harpsichordist is Ron Greidanus. He played a Chopin piano concerto when I was playing French horn in the Blyth Festival Orchestra, and I had the pleasure of conducting that orchestra when Ron performed a Bach piano concerto. He was raised just north of Clinton and despite his late start in music, he developed a terrific reputation for his knowledge and talent. The "orchestra" for this performance of Messiah is 2 violins, a viola, a cello, a bass, a baroque (valveless) trumpet which was played extremely well, and tympani (in addition to Ron on the harpsichord).
And Ron wrote to me after that review,
It is a different approach, that's for sure — the choruses fast, articulate and sublime; the arias and recits for the most part rather dramatic, if not theatrical. It certainly makes the music come alive — you actually know what is going on.
I love the Baroque approach, and will never change back. If I had to conduct a large choir, I don't know what I would do. The lightness and precision is so much fun to make happen.
If you live anywhere near Goderich, this group's performance will be well-worth the drive to see the performance. Failing that, you might want to attend other performances by the Georgetown Bach Chorale.
Let me add that although most people seem to think Messiah is appropriate for Christmas, theologically I'd just as soon see it at Easter (as, in fact, I did the first two times I ever saw it performed). After all, everything in Parts II and III, including the Hallelujah Chorus, is about the crucifixion, the resurrection, and onward.
Another advantage of performing Messiah at Easter is that there is a whole lot less competition for audiences then.