For Christmas Eve, savor the true miracle: "For unto us a child is born"
"For unto us a child is born" ends Part I of Handel's Messiah.
People keep telling me I shouldn't worry so much about the quality of the performances I put up here, but I know that this anemic, pipsqueaky rendering doesn't capture much of the sense of wonder, triumph, and miraculous excitement that Handel captured in the announcement: "For unto us a child is born." Really, Handel gives us the feeling that that is the miracle: that a child is born (and a son given). Even when this particular child's future responsibilities are set out ("Wonderful counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father), note how Handel italicizes the additional role: "the Prince of Peace."
Still, it's better than the other performances I found online before I gave up searching, having discovered how much worse I could do -- namely, the most recent recording by Sir Colin Davis, in the LSO Live series, which reduces the piece to limp, soggy time-beating, creating no movement at all until it gets loud, and then it merely gets loud. It's the kind of performance that leads people to think, as I confess I once did, that it's just tendentious, churchy folderol.
(Really shocking, considering that some 40 years ago the younger Colin Davis made one of the most enduring, vital recordings of Messiah, also with the LSO. It's been reissued as an inexpensive Philips "twofer" set, which I can still recommend highly as a basic Messiah recording. Davis even did a pretty decent remake for Philips in Munich. Now this.)
Well, at least this clip allows you to follow along with the words and music. Merry Christmas and season's greetings to all.
COMING UP TOMORROW: MUSIC FOR CHRISTMAS DAY