A Truly Unique Messiah

An amazing video of Handel’s Messiah from Canada. It’s abbreviated, only 50% of the entire score, but what amazing interpretations in many languages in this Canadian production. Canada is proud of its diversity and what better way to celebrate diversity than with this unique performance of this echt example of Baroque sacred music. I’m proud to be Canadian when I see something like this. There is some political correctness; but it is made by Canadians after all. The whole thing is worth viewing and enjoying. It is truly uplifting. But I choose the following highlights if you don’t wish or have the time to see the whole thing. But do hear/read the opening introductory words.

I love the way O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion was rewritten for its performance in the Southern Tuchone language with magnificent backdrops of the Yukon. That starts at the 21:00 minute mark. I loved all the numbers performed in native languages. They sound so mellifluous, so beautiful. They remind me of Finnish. This is followed at 27:00 by a wonderful performance of For Unto Us a Child is Born in a beautiful New Brunswick church. He Shall Feed His Flock is filmed in the distant north, beginning at 37:00.Another highlight was He was Despised – sung in shortened version, in French, but with a twist: “She was despised”. Political correctness? Feminism? Sure, but I think it works. This segment was filmed in Montreal, with images of Muslim home prayer! It starts at around 42:00.

I loved Why do the Nations so Furiously Rage Together, starting at around 48:30. And Hallelujah chorus is superbly performed in the heart of Toronto by the city’s famous Mendelssohn Choir. That starts at 51:20. I Know that my Redeemer Liveth is sung in the Northwest Territories in the Dene language, again rewritten with words that are closer to the earth, as the various indigenous people are closer to the earth! The indigenous languages probably don’t even have equivalents for some of the more theological words of the Christian vocabulary. That begins at 55:15.

The Trumpet Shall Sound is given a rousing performance in a hockey arena – Canada’s national sport – starting at 1:01. If God be for Us is evocatively sung in Arabic, but it is introduced by a minute or so of Arabic Christian chant (not written by Handel, of course). It is filmed in a ruined church in Ontario which probably reminds the singer of the many churches ruined by war in her Middle Eastern homeland, which seems to be the thought behind her looking at pictures at one point. This starts at 1:05:35.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. I found it truly uplifting and a wonderful example of how the Christian message can be universal without imperial conquests and domination.

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