It’s That Time of Year…

…when I listen to this version of The Messiah at least once a day.  It is so sublime that I will not desecrate it by trying to sing with it, and sometimes I cannot even bring myself to hum.  It is that majestic.

There are many features of this performance that I find captivating.  Of course the musicians and singers are simply superb.  Alto Delphine Galou is my version of the old Benjamin Franklin quip, “Beer is the proof that God loves us.”  (Admittedly some of the impact of this saying is lost on me as I do not possess the beer-drinking gene.)  Mrs. Galou’s voice is one proof that God loves me.

I love the ensemble who performs the oratorio and the philosophy behind them.  The Prague-based Collegium 1704 ensemble emphasizes period instruments, and it is simply amazing the sounds and configuration of those instruments.  It’s no big deal to find c.1700 violins.  Expensive, but not unusual.  But c.1700 trumpets and other brass instruments?  Wow.

The vocal ensemble is much smaller than typical for The Messiah, which tends to be a monumental production with a monumentally sized orchestra and choir.  Aside from the four soloists there are twenty in the choir, with roughly the same number of instrumentalists.  This allows for the massive inertia of most presentations to be overcome with this much more crisp and sprightly version.

Finally, the setting, again made possible by the smaller ensembles, provides a much livelier sound; the giant spaces necessary for huge performances muddy the music in my opinion.

I must not be the only one, the video has been watched almost 8 million time.