Sunday, December 1, 2013
Battle of the Bands: Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus"
After the Battle of the Bands (BOTB) took a turn for Christmas music in December I decided to join in the merriment to add my own picks. If you're just joining me for a Battle of the Bands installment, you can find out more about it by visiting the sites of the founders at Far Away Series and Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends. Somewhere on those sites you'll get the scoop on BOTB and you can vote on the match-ups they chose.
I left a trail of clues leading to my pick for round #9 of BOTB. Since I'm composing this entry ahead of time I don't know if anyone guessed my pick. I think my clues were pretty blatant though perhaps not obvious. As usual I relied on using lyrics embedded into my posts and this time I even used a homonym for the composer's name. So if no one did guess, my pick for this battle is "The Hallelujah Chorus" from G.F. Handel's Messiah.
Every Christmas season groups around the world perform the entire oratorio or at the very least the "Hallelujah Chorus". Messiah is also often performed at Easter as well as other times of the year. It's a great classical work that is among the most recognized of all.
My reason for using this selection is because on the afternoon of Sunday December 1st I'll be performing most of the Messiah with the L.A. Oratorio Chorus and Orchestra. Sounds impressive doesn't it? Actually we're something like 50 voices and a small orchestra of about seven instruments. Last year we performed with only a piano and it was pretty stirring from the feedback I got from those in attendance. We've been rehearsing this one day a month since January and I think we'll do a bang up job with it. I'm especially excited about having the instrumental ensemble backing us this year.
I'm using three clips for this installment. The first is a performance by chorus and orchestra as it was intended to be performed. I offer this for anyone who is not familiar with this piece or in case you'd just like to hear it again.
Hallelujah Chorus from G.F. Handel's Messiah
A number of smaller vocal groups have taken this piece on and it can work in an interesting way. Here is one version:
"Hallelujah Chorus" by The Oak Ridge Boys (2005)
One of the pioneer groups of Christian Rock is Petra. Here is a clip which is a part of a larger medley they performed for the concert album and video Captured in Time and Space. In my opinion frontman Greg X Volz is one of the greatest rock vocalists ever. Check out what he and the band do with Handel's piece. I only wish they had done a longer version. By the way this is an excellent concert video for those who enjoy this style of music.
Petra (with Greg X Volz on vocal) "Hallelujah Chorus" (1984)
Now Vote for Your Favorite!
Do you prefer the Oak Ridge Boys? Did you like what you heard from Petra? Or are you a traditionalist and go with the classic version? Cast your vote in the comment section and tell us why you chose as you did.
Then visit the other participants:
Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends
Your Daily Dose
And if you feel inspired to contribute your own Battle then let us know if the comments so we can visit yours.
Do you ever perform with a choral group that does Handel's Messiah? Have you ever attended a full presentation of the Messiah? Do you enjoy this type of music?