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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Blessings and The Hallelujah Chorus

A blessed Easter to all. We serve a living Savior. Because He lives I can face tomorrow. And because He lives, we, too, shall live.

I can find no other piece of music more appropriate for this day than "The Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah." And I can find no better rendition of the piece than that which was performed by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, along with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

I like the video of this in particular because it provides a black and white photo of Ormandy, known as "the little maestro," in action, conducting the orchestra as no other. He was a genius, a child prodigy who grew up to conduct what became known as the finest orchestra on earth, the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Here you will hear what became known as "the Philadelphia Sound," which Ormandy perfected, that emphasized the smooth woodwinds and violins, violas, and cellos, and when he used brass he chose to smooth out the sound with the use of the horn muffle, called "the trumpet mute," so as to minimize the shrillness that often accompanies brass instruments. The result is a velvety balanced musical experience that is as near perfection as humans can achieve.

The tradition is that the audience stands while the Hallelujah Chorus is presented. This is in homage to the fact that upon hearing the piece for the first time, King George II was so moved emotionally that he rose to his feet. And when the King stands, everyone must stand.

So, here is my Easter gift to you. The great Eugene Ormandy conducting the great George Frederick Handel's "The Hallelujah Chorus." Enjoy, and God bless!

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