Friday, 24 December 2010

MATINS. WHY SHOULD THE DEVIL HAVE ALL THE GOOD TUNES? Handel: Messiah, For unto us a child is born (Sir Colin Davis, Tenebrae,...


banned said...

The Devil will have to make do with "I wish it could be Xmas Every Day"

Merry Christmas Mr Ishmael.

Dick the Prick said...

Happy Chrimbo Mr Ish. Another year chalked up, tfft.

Caratacus said...

Banned - I thought the Devil liked such tunes as , "There'll Be A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight" and that sort of thing?

I'll get me coat.....

Merry Christmas Mr.I.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Often sung with a chorus of 120 or more, but though it can be pulled off occasionally, precision and phrasing tend to fall away in a lot of performances. 'Messiah' works so well with a choir of this sort of number - here about 30 - who know exactly what they're doing. A fine choice, if I may say so, Mr Ish.

There's another Handel oratorio, 'Israel in Egypt', not so often performed, which has wonderful word painting (listen to No 8 'He sent a thick darkness' - and ponder the times in which we live). Anyway, it's a cracking piece, and adds to the general opinion that Handel was one of the finest. Always a joy to sing his music.

A very Merry Christmas to you, Mr Ishmael!

call me ishmael said...

Yes, always a joy; it is the Amen chorus for me, I cannot hear it without weeping for us all.

And God rest ye merry, gentlemen and ladies and mongeese.

jgm2 said...

The 'Amen' chorus? Makes you weep? Me too but I suspect for different reasons.

There it is in the program. You've sat through, what is it, two hours of this shit already and then they get to the final bit.

Thank fuck you think. The 'Allelujah' chorus bit was alright but if they'd issued cyanide with the fucking program I'd have killed myself before it.

T's'a'right. Fucking made it. Another minute and we're out of here. Then. Holy Fuck. Three solid minueds of Amen. Amen Aaaaamen. Aaaa-men. Aameeen.

MY ears!!!!

My miiiind!!!


Will. This. Shit. Never. End.

Sat through it twice as a show of support for the nippers.

Kid one and kid two giving it Yahoo in different years.

They've dropped it at St. Cakes. Too many kids never go back to choir.

Mind didn't. Can't blame them.

Fucking hell.

Amen chorus? Bring you to tears? Me too.

jgm2 said...

Seriously Mr Ishmael. First time I endured it I stood up and punched the fucking air in church when the fucking thing ended.


mongoose said...

The Outlaws have been shepherded away. Exhausted mongoslings have crawled away to their beds. A glass of champagne and a beef sandwich beckons. Quiet reigns for an hour or two.

Merry Christmas to you, Mr Ishmael, and to all the observers of Ruin who gather here.

Anonymous said...

Season's Greetings

call me ishmael said...

Like a bull in a china shop, mr jgm2; it may not be for you but your mockery does none service, maybe you have heard inferior renditions, maybe you have inferior critical faculties.

It is the three or more solid minutes of varied, textured, increasingly complex and beautifully resolved Amens which are so magical, more is less and less is more. It is, don't you see, that ending, that silence, to which the piece - and all of us - move. Play it again, next time you lose someone, and tell me I'm wrong. Would I lie to you?

call me ishmael said...

That link disnae work, debbie, is there another one, please?

jgm2 said...

Mr Ishmael. I'd have sooner settled for two hours of silence.

Although, to be fair, as I like to think I am, the second rendition (a year later) was better than the first. Possibly due to them using a professional orchestra and professional soloists second time around.

But, trust me, using St Cakes orchestra and soloists was .. brutal..inhuman...fucking awful. And, d'ya know, why so? These kids are all grade 7 or 8 in senior school. What is this shit?

Mr Ishmael, I sang ' Zadok the priest and Nathan the fucking prophet...' thirty years ago and we sounded like fucking angels but this Messiah shit is just ... wrong.

Aaaamen. Aaaaamen. Amen. Amen. Aaaaaamen.

S'cuse me. Has anybody got an Uzi so we can end this shit and fuck off home?

This is a particular bug-bear of mine Mr Ishmael. Chacun a son gout and all that but a particular feature of the ...errr... better-ment of the paysans by the well-meaning middle class revolution in, for example, Russia was that low-life such as myself would develop an appreciation of opera and ballet and shit like that. So much so that they built opera houses all over the fucking shop (I have been to the biggest Opera house in fucking Russia which is in, of all places, the middle of fucking Siberia, Novosibersk) even while they were sending, at gunpoint, quizzical sceptics, such as us, off to Kamchatka to look for copper and Zinc and shit.

Now, I used to think that the same fucking well-meaning mind-set that wanted me to love Opera and ballet (just to rub my nose in the fact that I couldn't afford the tickets) were the same type who enjoyed skiing. And for the same reason. You, Mr jgm2, will never be able to afford it. You, Mr jgm2, just don't have the upbringing and heightened sense of the ascetic to appreciate it.


But Mr Ishmael, thanks to the grammar school education I received and my own 'Zadoc the priest...' experience I am open to the enjoyment of choral work. But Handel's Messiah is, to me, like the Thane of Cawdor. Nothing quite becomes it like leaving the fucking thing.

Amen (Three minutes).

At the age of 41, because everybody at St Cakes went skiing and because I didn't want my kids abandoned on a ski slope I went skiing for the first time in my life. Mr Ishmael. It's fucking magic.

But Opera? Aaamen, aaamen,amen, ameeen...?

The 'Amen chorus'? You can stick it up your arse.

Chacun a son gout.

Anonymous said...

Season's Greetings

call me ishmael said...

Too much brandy, maybe, in the brandy sauce, mr jgm2, prompting such unseasonal infelicities. I almost hesitate to mention it, so severe seems to be your aversion, but we are a blog of record and I must inform you that whilst I agree with much of what you say about opera, Mr Handel's Messiah isn't. One simply must not labour under the misapprehension that anything sung is opera, especially when it is an oratorio; the misapprehension is easily corrected when one has access to a kindly blogkeeper, as do you, and I am happy to oblige.

Yours is an odd snobbery, for the Handel oratorios are colonised these past two centuries not by St Cakes but by working class choirs who find them, as mr anonymous says, above, a joy to sing. We didn't do Handel at King Edwards Grammar School but that was just one of its shortcomings and I only came to love the Messiah later in life, as perhaps you will; your redeemer, I am sure, lives.

The chacun a son gout which you deploy is a quiescent, philosophical shrug of the shoulders at differing tastes and doesn't actually imply shove it up your arse and in this vein I hope that should you be ski-ing over the winter, you do not suffer a tumble and find one of the waxed, wooden devices up your arse, even thogh some might venture that such a calamity was only what you deserve, might, in fact, silently mouth their own cyber chorus of Amen - verily, truly, so be it.

jgm2 said...


call me ishmael said...

Ah, no wound intended, mr jgm2. Happy New Handel.

jgm2 said...

For what it's worth I am moved to similar violent rejection of 'Miss Saigon'.

Just NO!!!!

call me ishmael said...

I fear I do not know the work, mr jgm2, is it by that mutant, wotsisname, the one who steals everything, the little bug-eyed fucker, LloyedWebberman, in partnership with that dreadful cricketing arsehole, Tim something?