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Comments about ‘Mormon Tabernacle Choir to carry on tradition of Handel's 'Messiah'’

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Published: Friday, April 18 2014 9:00 a.m. MDT

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Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

I jumped at the chance to get tickets to this, we can't wait until tomorrow night for our performance!

Old Poet
Salt Lake City, UT

A serious flaw in this article is that Handel's wealthy iron master friend Charles Jennens was not credited as compiler of the Bible texts and libretto in Messiah that inspired Handel to compose Messiah. Two years ago at Handel House in London, special recognition was given Charles Jennens for his contribution. Jennens was a theologian, minister, poet, and editor and publisher of Shakespeare compositions, which evoked the jealous ire of those who saw themselves as Shakespeare authorities. They vowed to discredit Jennens into invisibility and succeeded. Jennens was hostile to the German King George, wanting a Brit to be King, which put him at odds with the German royals and their British supporters. Jennens is not mentioned in the major Messiah texts by publishers, only one of which mentions Jennens in an introductory footnote in the smalls of fonts. To the credit of the Mormon Tabernacle voice Lloyd Newell: last Sunday his commentary on Handel and Messiah did credit Charles Jennens. Excellent scholarship, Lloyd! Not to mention Charles Jennens selection of the Messiah text would be like not mentioning the lyrics of Eliza R. Snow for the Latter-day Saint Church hymn "Oh, My Father."

jbbevan
Heber City, UT

It is amazing how many of the world's top singers (of the MET variety) credit their familiarity with Messiah to the old ca. 1958 recording by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. There was the ill-begotten David Willcocks version in between, but the time is certainly right for a modern and definitive recording of Messiah with Wilberg's scholarship and tonal accuracy brought to bear on the matter. If the chorus on "He is Risen" (not Hallelujah but Worthy is the Lamb/Amen) is any indication, this Messiah will have a new and distinctive sound. Bro. Wilberg believes he can direct a "large choir" version while preserving modern Baroque scholarship. It is a bold and courageous idea, but I, for one, am excited to hear what he and the choir have to say. The MTC is at the top of its game. It's never worked so hard nor sung so well as it does today. Kudos to all concerned and particularly to the always-self-effacing Mack Wilberg.

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