Vancouver Chamber Choir
Handel's Messiah

Conductor: Jon Washburn

Featured Performers:
Colin Balzer (tenor), Anita Krause (alto), Mark Pedrotti (bass), Henriette Schellenberg (soprano)

Venue: The Orpheum Date: 13 December 2002

Reviewer: John Jane

George Frideric Handel created his now famous oratorio in the middle of the eighteenth century, when it became an immediate success, and is now regarded as a brilliant example of early western music. Despite the work being synonymous with Christmas, it was originally associated more with Easter. This due in part to the timing of its premier performance in Dublin, Ireland during Holy week, and also perhaps because traditionally proceeds from concerts were donated to charity. Thus Messiah was performed often during the Christmas season.

The version of Messiah that we hear today is much different from Handel’s original composition. The most notable revision of the work was completed by none other than W. A. Mozart barely a quarter of a century later. This variation adapted for baroque orchestra no doubt helped popularize Messiah beyond Handel’s adopted homeland of England.

In presenting this exalted oratorio in such a splendid venue as the Orpheum, the Vancouver Chamber Choir have given themselves a hard act to follow for the balance of their season. Having seen and heard them a number of times, I don’t believe they will disappoint.

2002, John Jane