by Matt Fox
It’s rumored that when Handel’s Messiah had its Dublin debut in 1742, King George II was so moved by the third part of the work that he rose to his feet in an awestruck stupor. To honor the king, the audience responded appropriately by also standing for the composition’s duration. Fast-forward 270 years, and patrons around the world still stand for the iconic “Hallelujah Chorus” conclusion. There are countless deep-seated traditions surrounding the work, and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s yearly performance is one unto itself.
The performance has previously been headed by George Mabry (shown in the clip above rehearsing last year's concert), but Giancarlo Guerrero will take the reins this year with his own interpretation of the Baroque masterpiece. Listen for the work’s interaction between the lyrics and melodic orchestral craft, and its revolutionary departure from the biblical narratives that were the era’s status quo. Nothing ushers in the holiday spirit quite like Handel’s quintessential oratorio, and to hear it in the Schermerhorn only complements the grandeur.
Performances continue through Saturday night. Tickets are $39-$99.