The location for this performance was a church downtown, built in the style of so many of the churches in Europe. The aisles were lined with candles, and votives flickered on windows and pillars, adding ambience to the setting. A Baroque orchestra added to the whole historic feel.
This oratorio is made up of 54 sections of Scripture. In all the years of listening to this on CD, I never realized it was pure Scripture until I heard it live for the first time a few years ago.
It is a very uplifting and emotionally rejuventing thing to sit back and hear the whole story of salvation sung. A few excerpts:
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people,
Come unto Him, all ye that labour...and He will give you rest.
He was despised and rejected of men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows!
Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.
I know that my Redeemer liveth,
But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain...to receive power,
and riches, and wisdome, and strength, and honour, and glory and blessing.
Those of you familiar with this work will no doubt hear the music of these words in your head as you read them.
This was a fitting way to put some things in perspective and begin the holiday season, which for me begins today -- December 1st! I've got to go get the kids to open their advent calendars now.