Entertainment, On A High Note

Messiah: One of Nashville’s great Christmas traditions

Photo Courtesy of the Nashville Symphony

Photo Courtesy of the Nashville Symphony

Photo Courtesy of the Nashville Symphony/Photograph by Harry Butler

George Frideric Handel’s famous oratorio Messiah, written in 1741, has been performed in Nashville for many years, and it has grown to become one of our city’s most beloved holiday traditions.

Last night’s performance was equally as beautiful as each of the previous years of performances in Nashville’s history.  Conductor Christopher Seaman, following his long and admired history with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, ably led the performance to new heights at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

The Nashville Symphony and Chorus performed flawlessly, under the direction of Seaman and Chorus Director Kelly Corcoran. Nashville is privileged to experience the vocal talents of soprano Katelyn Aungst, mezzo-soprano Laura C. Atkinson, tenor Scott Mello and bass-bariton Jonathan Woody, all of whom hold impressive repertoires and perform world-wide with acclaimed musical groups, including the Washington Bach Consort, the American Baroque Orchestra, Conspirare and the National Opera America Center.

Photo Courtesy of the Nashville Symphony

Photo Courtesy of the Nashville Symphony

Handel’s Messiah may be one of the most impressive oratorios to be performed in Nashville, and the Nashville Symphony will not fail to impress.  One of the most awe-inspiring aspects to the Nashville Symphony is the grand Schoenstein & Co. organ, which was installed with great acclaim in 2007.  A magnificent instrument, it brought a profound majesty to the performance.  Along with concertmaster Jun Iwasaki, the Symphony Orchestra provided a remarkable counterpoint to the vocal power of the Symphony Chorus. As the Symphony’s Thomas May comments, “Handel’s musical expression homes in on the universal emotions that underlie each stage of the Christian redemption narrative.”  He continues by saying, “The ‘Hallelujah!’ chorus may seem unbeatable, yet somehow Handel manages to follow it with still more glorious music: the soaring certainty of ‘The trumpet shall sound’ and the progression of the choral finale, with its fugal setting of ‘Amen.’ As the voices weave their threads together, that final word becomes a serene chant, all-encompassing in its resonance.”

We would encourage everyone to attend this remarkable musical offering.  The Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will be performing Handel’s Messiah for the 51st year, with its run continuing Friday, Dec. 19 and Saturday Dec. 20. Continue your holiday tradition by supporting the arts and attend this beautiful performance. If Handel’s Messiah is not in your holiday repertoire, let this be the first year of a future holiday tradition!