Dear friends of Ars Musica,
I look forward to your joining us for one of my very favorite holiday traditions: Handel’s Messiah. Each season brings fresh meaning and significance to this great work as the events of the passing year are considered through the prism of Jennens’s text and Handel’s music.
December always seems to me to be a time for reflection. It is remarkable every December that a whole year could have passed so quickly, and yet, the leaves have long fallen, the weather has turned cold, and the days are reaching their shortest span. We await with hope and anticipation the coming of another year. For many, the holiday season is a time rich in symbolic meaning.
This program endeavors to capture the symbolism and significance of the season—from the Christmas tree with its unchanging leaves to the holly with its berry as red as blood. This music embodies the hope and trust that, after even the longest night of the year, dawn will come in the morning; that spring will conquer over winter; and that the old year will always give way to the new.
These are the same hopes that inspired Jennens and Handel to create their most-beloved work—the same hopes that have kept people singing for thousands of years. As we face the uncertainty of a new year, let us look to the words of Jennens’s angels: “Fear not! For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people…peace on earth, good will towards men.”
My very best holiday wishes to you and all whom you hold dear,