Don't Draw from My Lips the Hallelujah
Folks, in a week that I have successfully lobbied for my church to skip this year's installment of the always awkward quasi-annual sing-along version of the Hallelujah Chorus during Easter services, let me make a modest proposal. Let's initiate a 20-year, world-wide ban on the performance of anything from Handel's Messiah. It needs to be done, and as musicians, we have the power and the responsibility to make it happen.
Among my friends, I am known as a Messiah grouch. Hey, I like the piece -- I love the piece -- but I'm really, really tired of it. I don't want to ban the thing forever (it's not like it's something written by Haydn, after all). I just think we should give it a rest for a while. During that time, audiences will fill the Messiah-shaped vacuum within themselves with other, less familiar works. Possibly they will begin even to like them. We'll see an end to performers degrading themselves in vain attempts to find a fresh approach to the music. After twenty years, we can bring the Messiah back with the fanfare it deserves, and it can assume a more reasonable, proportionate place among all the fascinating music written. Which includes even music written after the year 1890.
If we start now, we can have the ban in place before the Christmas season begins. G' bye-ah to the Messiah shall be our slogan. Discipline, Unanimity, Will -- with these three virtues, we will triumph. Will you join me?
UPDATE: A Coincidence? Just four days after I wrote this, the words "Handel's Messiah" and "boycott" appeared on A. C. Douglas' blog. Clearly, the very fabric of the internet is distorting itself in proximity to the planetary massiveness of this new meme. In other words, I'm on to something here.