Thursday, December 25, 2008


It still gives me chills when I hear it. Pay attention to the audience - see, they're standing as everyone is traditionally supposed to do. I do it (not when driving the car of course), but you would be surprised how many do not. I've had the good fortune to actually perform this - and it's no easy task.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Handel's Messiah:

The most famous movement is the "Hallelujah" chorus ..."

"In many parts of the world, it is the accepted practice for the audience to stand for this section of the performance. Tradition has it that King George II rose to his feet at this point. As the first notes of the triumphant Hallelujah Chorus rang out, the king rose. Royal protocol has always demanded that whenever the monarch stands, so does everyone in the monarch's presence. Thus, the entire audience stood too, initiating a tradition that has lasted more than two centuries. It is lost to history the exact reason why the King stood at that point, but the most popular explanations include:

1) As was and is the custom, one stands in the presence of royalty as a sign of respect.
2) The Hallelujah chorus clearly places Christ as the King of Kings. In standing, King George II accepts that he too is subject to Lord of Lords.
3) He was so moved by the performance that he rose to his feet.
4) He arrived late to the performance, and the crowd rose when he finally made an appearance.
5) His gout acted up at that precise moment and he rose to relieve the discomfort.
6) After an hour of musical performance, he needed to stretch his legs.

There is a story told (perhaps apocryphally) that Handel's assistant walked in to Handel's room after shouting to him for several minutes with no response. The assistant reportedly found Handel in tears, and when asked what was wrong, Handel held up the score to this movement and said, "I thought I saw the face of God"."

Whatever the reason, people stand. So remember that the next time you hear this. Unless, of course, you're in a car or something ...

Merry Christmas everyone. Hallelujah, the Lord is born.


Dru said...

Merry Christmas and Hallelujah is one of my favorite holiday music.

Brandy said...

Merry Christmas! Blessings!

Susan said...

Hallelujah is a beautiful song.

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas!

Melissa said...

I saw this live once and it was amazing! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, Bailey!