Handel - Messiah - Kew Green - Ars Eloquentiae

On Saturday 19th of December 2015, I performed Handel's 'Messiah' at St. Anne's Church in Kew Green, London, with the group Ars Eloquentiae.


The performance was directed by the wonderfully energetic Chad Kelly. He lead the ensemble and small chorus through this work from the chamber organ at the front - leading with clarity and excitement.

After several encouraging gestures and glances from the director, the trumpets were being encouraged to play the low parts, such as the one at 'King of Kings' in the Hallelujah chorus, with quite some volume and richness of sound. This raised a huge grin from several surrounding players and members of the audience.

I enjoyed playing 'The Trumpet Shall Sound' with the single-dotted version of the opening fanfare, at the request of the director. This followed on the tradition from last year's performance, prior to which I had explained its significance to Chad - this trumpet fanfare was played when a Judge entered a courtroom. Handel used it in the Messiah (and the Dettingen Te Deum) to symbolise the Day of Judgment. Playing it in its original form (without the double dots) helps to acknowledge this symbolism.

At the end, the large audience became involved in the performance after their rousing applause. They sang the carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful' with accompaniment from the Church organ (played by Chad Kelly) and with extra ad-hoc orchestration from the members of the orchestra, who were of course still playing on period instruments. It was a glorious way to end the concert and it brought the performers and audience together, after what is possibly for some, the last concert of the year.


Russell Gilmour
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writing on music, photography, engraving, travel and life as a freelance professional musician.