Be sure to check out the first article from this newsletter of the CiRCE Institute, where Cindy Rollins describes how her family has used Messiah as a daily advent reading for the last ten years. I think it’s a great idea! I was also pleased to see that John Mason Hodges (who will be the speaker at this Friday’s Humanitas Forum in Cookeville) calls Messiah “one of the pieces of music every educated person should recognize”.
Speaking of Messiah, I have been working over the last few days on updating the “Messiah Blog” project I wrote a couple years ago. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be re-posting those articles, which I hope will benefit many people, whether you have read them before or not!
Incidentally, if you don’t have a copy of Messiah at home, you should be sure to get one! In the article linked above, Cindy Rollins recommends this recording, conducted by Neville Marriner. It’s a good recording (and a REALLY good price), but you should be advised that it is taken from an earlier version of Messiah (the 1743 “Covent Garden” version) and not the more familiar “final” version. Thus, some familiar arias will sound a little different from what you may be used to. I personally prefer this version, recorded by Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert, or this one, from John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers.