Handel Messiah "Amen" exposition (mm. 72-91)
Date: October 9, 2015
Having sung, prepared, and conducted Handel's Messiah dozens of times, the beginning of the final "Amen" Fugue (mm. 72-91) has always puzzled me. No matter how well sung, these measures, accompanied only by continuo, can seem weak. Why didn't Handel accompany the tenors, altos, and sopranos with colla parte strings (as in "And With His Stripes")? Mozart seems to have shared my concern, since he doubled the voices in his arrangement. in Helmuth Rilling's new Messiah book (Carus 2015) he states that "I often have this first section sung by the four soloists so as to incorporate all of the forces into the last movement of the oratorio." (p. 93). Some conductors choose a legato articulation and piano dynamic; others an aggresive forte. What are your thoughts on this passage? On Rillings' proposal? I look forward to your collective wisdom!
Symphony Chorus of New Orleans