Last night I went to a Manitoba Chamber Orchestra concert for the first time. I was at the George Frideric Handel performance courtesy of my brother-in-law Harv, who had a work committment and had to find someone to use his season ticket. I was only too happy to oblige, because for this concert, The Winnipeg Singers were the orchestra’s special guests. My future daughter-in-law Alisa is one of the professional vocalists employed by the Winnipeg Singers. She is standing at the far right in the front row in this official photo of the group taken at the Manitoba Legislature building.
The concert last night was called A Handel Pasticcio. Pasticcio comes from the Italian word for a pie filled with a variety of ingredients. Pasticcio was a very popular music form in the eighteenth century. It referred to a medley of various music pieces. Like a pie with many kinds of fillings, a pasticcio is a concert with many kinds of music offerings. There were 25 excerpts from Handel’s work featured at last night’s concert, including oratorio overtures, opera choruses, marches, odes, string trios, suites and concertos.
I especially enjoyed Jealousy a chorus from the opera Hercules. The music effectively conveyed the destructive power of the green-eyed monster. The lyrics were Jealousy ! Infernal pest ! Tyrant of the human breast, How from slightest causes bred, dost thou lift thy hated head–Trifles light as floating air, strongest proofs to thee appear.
Another piece I liked was May No Rash Intruder a chorus from the oratorio Solomon. While the choir sings…..May no rash intruder disturb their soft hours; To form fragrant pillows, arise, oh ye flow’rs! Ye zephirs, soft-breathing, their slumbers prolong,
While nightingales lull them to sleep with their song. This chorus is sometimes nicknamed The Nightingale Chorus because the flutes sound for all the world like nightingales calling.
What next? The Winnipeg Singers aren’t finished with Handel. They will be hosting a fundraising event on December 10th where people can come and sing along with them as they prepare Handel’s Messiah for a presentation with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on December 17th. I will definitely go to the concert and maybe the sing-a-long as well. Hallelujah!