The choir has performed Handel’s well-loved and well-known masterpiece at least once every 10 years in the course of its existence, and each of the conductors who have directed the choir has included this work . This seems trifling compared with some choirs who perform the work every year, but it means that the choir comes to the music perhaps rather more freshly.
Each of the conductors we have had (5 so far) has chosen to take the choir through this piece, and each time we singers learn something new. No performance is the same; each conductor has his (no female musical director of the SBC yet!) individual preferences regarding speed, dynamics, interpretation, and over the years there have been cultural changes in the way eighteenth-century music is interpreted and performed, as the slower-paced, rather heavier versions have been replaced by lighter, faster preferences, with greater emphasis on the dance-like aspect of the music, and precise articulation of the words.
Our first musical director, David Bowman, conducted a performance of Messiah early in the choir’s second year, when he used the edition by Watkins Shaw, which had fairly recently been published, and made significant changes from the Prout edition which choirs had been using for many years. Since then we have performed Part I as part of a December concert, sung choruses from the work and sung complete versions in both the Watkins Shaw and the Prout edition.
Tonight our Director of Music, Marc Murray, will conduct the complete work (with a few cuts), using the Watkins Shaw edition. We are delighted to welcome our soloists – Rosanna Harris, Charlotte Badham, Charles-Louis Gagnon and Samuel Jackson – and members of Crosby Symphony Orchestra.
The performance starts at 7.30 at Holy Trinity Church, Southport.
Tickets are £12, at the door, or from 01704 540097, or 01704 535208.