Handel’s Messiah is perhaps the most famous piece in the oratorio literature. In the British musical tradition, this Handel work is considered ‘The Oratorio’, and its Hallelujah is almost the second hymn of the British people, which is still heard standing up at concerts to this day. The composition of the work, like that of many other oratorios, has undergone numerous changes over the centuries; certain movements have been played frequently, while others have been omitted. Some arias have been transposed in different forms. The performing apparatus of the work has also greatly varied: from very small orchestras to monumental productions involving about a thousand performers, it has been played in almost every possible variation.
To this day, there are two widely known and frequently performed adaptations of Messiah. One is by Mozart and the other was written in the 1950s by Sir Eugene Goossens.
BDO has played both adaptations. Mozart’s version, which is not only rearranged but also a version with abridgements, seeks to enrich Handel’s simple orchestration, while Goossens seeks to bring the over-abundant “mega-orchestras” of the 19th-20th centuries closer to the original Handel oratorio.
BDO and Müpa Budapest’s joint MusicPlus concert takes as its starting point the Mozartian orchestration and movement composition. The performance retrieves a single movement from the original Handel version, “If God be for us…”. The version to be performed was originally written for the German translation, but BDO retains the original English text in its performance, offering a more comfortable concert experience for both performers and listeners.
One of the special features of the concert is that it presents four extremely talented young Croatian soloists, who were discovered by Gábor Hollerung, the conductor of the evening, during the course of their collaborative work on a concert at the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall in Zagreb in the spring of 2023. Gábor Hollerung is known for his commitment to promoting young talents, so it is not surprising that he has chosen this way to launch the international careers of these four young singers.
Another special feature of the concert is that, following the principle of the MusicPlus series, a complex artistic performance will be created by adding a sister art to music. On this occasion, the visual energies of the audience will be engaged by a slide show of artworks matching the theme and the music, which will be projected during the performance, complementing the music and offering an even more complete experience.