Handel’s Messiah 2 April 2017

Messiah is Handel’s most famous choral work. It is often performed at Christmas, but it was actually composed for Lent at which season at the time of writing (1741) non-religious works were banned. So this performance, on Passion Sunday is very appropriate.

The performance will be in the Royal Northern College of Music on April 2nd 2017 at 7 pm. Soloists will be Natasha Jouhl, Louise Winter, Mucchala Amar and Henry Waddington. As usual, we will be accompanied by the East Lancs Sinfonia conducted by Nigel Wilkinson.

Tickets at £15 (students £5, accompanied children £1) are available from our ticket secretary on 01457 875 221 or the RNCM Box Office on 0161 907 5555

Concert Report

The concert was greatly enjoyed by audience and choir alike.  Click here to view the concert programme which contains lots of information about the choir, the composer and the work, including the conductor’s approach to the performance.

Stuart Ferguson kindly provided the following review, part of which appeared in the Oldham Chronicle:

Over recent years there has been a ‘back-to-basics’ reassessment of the performance techniques of much Baroque music and Handel’s Messiah has been stripped back to its essentials.Last night’s performance by the Oldham Choral Society and the East Lancs Sinfonia at the Royal College of Music was a superb example of how to recreate the light and airy (even jolly) nature of Handel’s first conceptions of this masterpiece.

A great deal of thought and hard work had gone into the selection of pieces to be included, the voices in which they were sung and the reduction of the Sinfonia to strings – including harpsichord.
Indeed when the solo trumpet did sound it was like a bolt of lightning from the heaven that Handel had once imagined when he concluded his Hallelujah Chorus.

So taken with this presentation were the audience that they found it hard to refrain from starting to applaud a few times between sections, and the thunderous applause after the final Amen proved that all the hard work was worth-while.

Fronting the clear, precise singing of the choir were four excellent soloists: Natasha Jouhl, Soprano, Louise Winter, Mezzo Soprano, Amar Muchhala, Tenor and Henry Waddington, Bass. All sang with gusto and emotion.

The programme notes that explained the reasons for the deletions and changes were longer than this review but gave a fascinating glimpse into the mind of Handel and his intentions for this oratorio.

All of the night’s experience was under the baton of Nigel P. Wilkinson. Nigel leads the Choral Society and the Sinfonia with a firm hand and but delicate touch. His vision of a Messiah restored to how it might have been heard 250 years ago took a lot of time, effort, research and dedication and every minute of this work of love was worth hearing.

Future performances will include The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins on Remembrance Sunday, and the Dream of Gerontius by Elgar in 2018.

S.F. 3 April 2017


The Choir in Full Song (photo by John Hesten)
The Choir in Full Song (Photo: John Hesten)