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What can one say about Handel’s Messiah that hasn’t already been said? It is so famous, so well-known and so revered by countless millions around the world, that trying to say something new about it is a little like saying something new about The Beatles. Just as, for many, The Beatles’ catalogue stands as the ‘gold standard’ for pop music, Messiah is held, by many, to be the be-all and end-all of choral music. There are many great choral works that are held in the highest regard by choral music aficionados around the world. Some of these works may be considered to be superior by certain criteria – be it in terms of structure, composition, subject matter, musical complexity or whatever. But such evaluations are always largely subjective – ‘in the eye of the beholder’ – as there is no absolute yardstick to measure such things.

And of course, this applies equally to Messiah itself. There is no way of measuring what makes it ‘better’ than other, undisputedly great, works of choral music – Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s The Creation, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and, more recently, Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man spring to mind. But few would disagree with the assertion that Handel’s Messiah is known, loved and enjoyed by more people worldwide than any other major work of choral music.

Handel’s achievement in creating Messiah is difficult to overstate. The story of Christ’s life, death and resurrection was told in words taken from the King James Bible and the Coverdale Psalter, and compiled by Charles Jennens. Handel composed and orchestrated music that perfectly accommodated the words, and gave the story a power that has rarely been equalled outside Scripture itself. A large part of what makes Messiah so special is the fact that it has immense appeal to people everywhere, whether they are believers or not. The emotional impact of the story is immeasurably enhanced by the power, the beauty, and the sheer melodic invention of Handel’s music.

Now, I’ve said all that, to say this – it’s one thing (a very big thing, at that) to know and appreciate the music by listening to recorded performances of Messiah. But - to be at a live concert, and to not only hear, but see, a choir, soloists and orchestra combining to perform this masterpiece before one’s eyes and ears, takes it to a whole other level. To be present at such an event, when the performers are of a standard such as Oriana has aspired to with this endeavour, is possibly a classical music parallel to seeing the Beatles in concert – without the screaming. It’s that special.

Oriana has put so much into preparing for the two performances of Messiah later this month. The Choir will bring you a presentation that has passion, commitment and an undeniable love for the music. Together with the virtuosity of Sinfonia of St. Andrew’s, brilliant conductor Andrew Wailes, and acclaimed soloists Elisabeth Wallis Gaedtke, Anne Fulton, Tobias Merz and Jason Barry-Smith, Oriana Choir is eagerly looking forward to bringing you the Choral event of the year!

Ian Rix

November 3, 2023.

Performances: Saturday, Nov. 25, 2.00 pm – Goodlife Community Centre, Buderim

Sunday, Nov. 26, 3.00 pm – Brisbane City Hall

For bookings and information, go to


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