2019-11-30 Messiah


Posted on 2019-11-30
By Laura Hawley

Da Camera Singers share their favourite Messiah moments

Da Camera Singers have been gearing up for our upcoming performance of Handel’s Messiah with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by William Eddins. Here, Da Camera Singers share some of their favourite movements and moments from this thrilling work – we want to hear yours! 

It’s going to be a thrilling performance, and a rare occasion to hear the work in its entirety and we’ve had a great time learning ALL the choruses, some of which are new to us, and perhaps will be to you too!

We hope you enjoy our choir-blog, and hope to see you at the Winspear next weekend!

(check out our recent rehearsal!)

Messiah favourites:

  • My ‘first’ favourite line is ‘Comfort ye’ sung by the tenor right at the beginning because it suggests that something wonderful is about to happen – buckle up folks, here we go! And my second favourite line is ‘Worthy is the lamb’ because it confirms that something wonderful did happen – we gave it our all!
  • I love Number 20-  He Shall Feed His Flock/Come Unto Him. It is a peaceful and reassuring moment and features the qualities of Soprano and Alto voices.
    -Wendy L
  • For me it’s always been “For Unto Us a Child is born,” because I think it captures the absolute JOY  of the good news of the gospel like no other chorus. It never fails to lift my spirits!
    – Wendy V.
  • My favourite aria in Messiah is “Comfort Ye”.  When the tenor sings that first drawn-out “Cooooooooo-mfort ye” I just feel… well, comforted. Always brings a tear to my eye.
  • My favourite Messiah moment/note is the sopranos’ high “A” in measure #151 of the Amen because it just makes my spirit soar!
    – Barb
  • My favorite moment is “Come unto Him”  because I sang it as a child and the audience laughed as they clapped. I cried because I thought they were laughing at me.  Rather, I guess I was just darn cute. The aria to me is still comforting in spite of the trauma.
  • I love it all. My favourite movement is ‘Behold, I tell you a mystery/the trumpet shall sound’. The recit is so full of promise, and the aria is just glorious – enough to make me want to sing bass!’
    -Juliet B
  • As someone who has never sung the Messiah, my favorite part has been seeing my fellow, more- experienced choristers be so excited for me to experience this. It has been very gratifying to learn such an iconic piece of music.
    – Annie
  • My favourite movement from the Messiah is “For Unto Us a Child is Born”.  The little Catholic girl in me choses to praise God through music. The pure, unrestrained joy of this movement climaxing with the Wonderful Counselor section always feels like a bit of a religious experience for me, and I often times get emotional when singing it.
    – Susan
  • My favourite movements are the Hallelujah chorus and Worthy is the lamb for the sheer grandeur and drama!
    – David
  • “He trusted in God” because fugue.
    -Bruce Shaw
  • My new favourite movement since last year is “He Trusted in God” because when we sang it last year, the conductor told us to sing it like we were REALLY mocking him, as in totally making fun of him, which made it really fun to sing.  Kind of like “Ha ha ha what an idiot”! I had never quite thought of it that way before. I don’t know why. It’s so obvious now. I can now never sing it any other way.
  • My favourite mvt for the Messiah,  used to be my least favourite, is ‘Since by man came death’. Why such a melodically boring mvt, you say? Because in this, you have to use your imagination to make it fantastic! You see, every time I sing this I have a vision.  Suddenly the image of the final scene from Star Wars 1 enters in my mind. It’s where Darth Vader is preaching to his despised and his beloved in his deepest, slowest, raspiest, and most intimidating voice “since by man came death”.  Then suddenly the Storm Troopers come marching in “By man came also the resurrection of the dead” and “even so in Christ shall all be made alive”. So you see even the most repetitive and melodically boring piece can become epic if you simply use your imagination! It goes a long way!
    – Guylaine
  • “There are too many favorite moments to choose from, but I’ll limit myself to just three! First, I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of the first part of “All We Like Sheep,” but I love the transition to the second part, when it becomes minor. The (frankly rather ditzy) musical description of thoughtless sheep cheerfully doing whatever they want is powerfully juxtaposed with the tragic consequences: “And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The word painting is just so powerfully symbolic, and talk about a mood change! Another favorite movement is “Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs” – particularly the anguished dissonance when we sing “our iniquities.” Also, how often do you get to sing the word “chastisement”?? It’s a fantastic word to sing! But if I had to choose a favorite single moment of the entire Messiah, it would have to be the final bars of the Amen chorus, starting with the ritardando on the sopranos’ descending line from the high A. Major bonus points if the timpani breaks the long dramatic pause a split second before the choir sings the final two “Amens.” I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll have tears of joy in my eyes at this point in the concert!”
  • It is easier for me to list four or five movements that stand above the others than to single out just one as a favorite. But if you can measure the excitement that wells up in you as you hear the intro to a specific movement and measure the way you ready yourself (sometimes unconsciously) to “make magic” with the music then the piece that would score the highest would be number 22: “Behold the Lamb of God”. It is a dignified and solemn movement that begins with a mental ‘aah’ sigh as the orchestra sets up for the first note by the Altos and ends with a another mental ‘aah’ as you let the last note go.
    -WFE (Bass)
  • My favourite movement of the Messiah is “For Unto Us A Child Is Born”, because it was the first one I ever had to work really hard on. It sounds so happy and energetic, and the orchestra parts make my heart so happy!
    – Maria
  • One of my numerous favourites (if that is possible) is The Lord Gave the Word. It is a rollicking chorus, fun to sing and for some reason always makes me think of the Monty Python line “ Did he say ‘ blessed are the cheesemakers’ ? “.
    – RW
  • It seems cliche to choose the Hallelujah Chorus, but the specific line “the kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ” makes me teary with joy every single time. The suddenly intimate and tender phrase in the middle of glorious, loud chaos calls to mind that God, the Christ, entered our world in an intimate, unexpected way also and reminds me that in my own life, the most beautiful moments are typically the quiet ones.
    -Kerry M.
  • My favourite movement is “there were shepherds abiding in the field” for the explicit and adorable word painting. The violins at the end signal the angels disappearing as quickly as they came.
    – K.Wells
  • I like “He shall Lead his Flock” because of the pastural melody and the images of care and safety.