Tuesday 14 April 2009

The great Handel at Easter.

Easter has been very restful . Charlbury was at its splendid Spring best , despite the cold. I was expecting to go to Christ Church, Oxford for Easter communion , but the trains ( lack of ) prevented that plan . Instead it was our beautiful Parish Church of St Mary's, the 8am Book of Common Prayer service with that splendid Collect which asks that ;

"as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good
desires ,
so that by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect ".

But the bonus was that when I returned to the cottage Radio 4 had choral Eucharist from ...Christ Church . The service ended with a gorgeous rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus sung by the country's finest Cathedral Choir. It was like being transported to heaven listening to the music of one of England's greatest composers.And indeed it is said that Handel said that as he composed the Messiah he felt he was in a heavenly ecstasy . The messiah was the last music he heard before he died , and the lines of the great aria, " I know that my Redeemer liveth " are on his gravestone.

And Today marked the 250th anniversary of Handel's death and so I listened to the live performance of the Messiah from Westminster Abbey , where Handel is buried. In his will he left the copyright of the Messiah to the Foundling Hospital at Coram Fields , now part of the Coram Foundation and one of the country's oldest children's charities ; providing help and support , as well as campaigning for children, across the centuries .Indeed it holds one of the country's first government contracts when HM Treasury paid them to help support orphans in the 18th century.

A fitting end to the Easter break . Back to work with gusto tomorrow.

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