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It is customary to begin Christmas with Händel’s The Messiah. For a reason.
This music was conceived as the church’s response to opera music, entertaining and beautiful.
Several of the tunes have been taken from popular music of the time. “For unto us a child is born”, for instance, is the tune to a popular song of love, remodelled into the most wonderful movement for choir in which the parts join in one by one with the message of the love that has come into the world. Händel wrote this great oratorio in three parts in only 24 days.
After a performance around 1750 Händel said, “I should be sad if I only entertain people – I wish to make them better persons.” An ambitious goal, but with Händel the presumption was justified. Only a few composers have been lauded by the public, colleagues and critics alike, like Händel was. Beethoven, for instance, said, “ Händel is the greatest composer that has ever lived. I will bare my head and kneel at his grave.”
In Mogens Dahl’s interpretation of the masterpiece the deep chords of both pain and final redemption are struck. In the baroque music the Mogens Dahl Chamber Choir has found a perfect playground for its famed crispness and gift for communicating the story behind the music.
“Mogens Dahl’s main point was to create a warm, intimate and absolutely crystal clear affair with Georg Friedrich Händel’s music. His devices were obvious and simple. A slight increase in tempo, a slight darkening of character. Everywhere tight, energetic and sober with lots of individual qualities.”
– Henrik Friis, Politiken December 19, 2009