Tag Archives: Handel

Captive Audiences: How Many Tickets can one Singer Sell?

Peanut never lacks for an audience because he expects everyone he encounters to pay attention to him.  Perhaps we singers need to take a lesson from him and have higher expectations of our friends and family to attend our choral performances.

Choirs understand that they have great built-in audience potential living in their singers’ address books.  How many friends and close family does each choir member have?  10? 20?  Our goal is to make sure that when we perform, all of those people are IN THE AUDIENCE.

So what should we expect from our singers?   And how do we overcome resistance?  Here’s a look at some of the obstacles and solutions to this problem:

Provide Advertising Materials — This seems like a no-brainer, but most choral organizations are multi-generational; the younger members want on-line information and the older singers like a nice shiny postcard or flyer.   Don’t discount the appeal of a printed card placed a store window, and don’t be surprised if one of the sopranos invites her grandchildren using an email.

Provide Several Purchase Portals — More and more people purchase tickets to events online, but when you are dealing with family and friends, they may need a little help.  A telephone ticket hotline might just be the convenient factor that reaches your new tenor’s Grandpa.

Provide Enthusiasm — Sometimes chatter is your best advertising.  Encourage singers to talk about their upcoming concert and to be open about their love for the music.

Provide Encouragement — People love to be invited to events.  Studies show that almost half of all people who attend concerts were invited by someone else.  Don’t think of it as selling tickets, think of it as extending invitations.

Provide a Culture of Participation — Positive reinforcement is the name of the game.  We’re not talking about contests, or shaming the slackers.  Our best tactic may be to recognize and praise those who do a great job.

Provide Training — Consider investing 15 minutes per concert to simply review ticket prices, purchase options, marketing materials and even a script of talking points.

The bottom line is that singers want that big audience as much as anyone else.  They may not realize how much power they have to make that a reality!

Long Beach Camerata Singers will be performing Handel’s Messiah on November 30 and December 1, 2018.  Tickets can be purchased for $30/$45.  Click HERE to visit our website.

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“Word-Painting” and Handel’s Messiah

One of the most extraordinary aspects of Handel’s music is the use of “word-painting,”  the musical technique of composing music that reflects the literal meaning of a song’s lyrics. For example, ascending scales would accompany lyrics about going up; slow, dark music would accompany lyrics about death.

This technique is employed throughout Handel’s most famous work, “Messiah.”  Today we will examine the use of word painting in two  arias, “Ev’ry Valley,” for Tenor and “But Who May Abide” for Bass.

In the very first aria, or air, of the composition — “Every valley shall be exalted,”  Handel literally begins the work with powerful word painting.  Many a composer would be content with just composing a melody with half the beauty of Handel’s, but he went much further.  The text is: “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain.”  When the tenor sings the word, “crooked,” Handel toggles between two notes; and with “straight,” he writes one long note. The effect wonderfully contrasts uneven with straight.

“But who may abide the day of his coming?” contains one of the most dramatic moments in the entire oratorio. The text from Malachi prophesizes about Judgment Day, asking “who may abide the day of his coming?” This Handel crafts into a mysterious, slow air. But at the text, “for he is like a refiner’s fire,” the music explodes into … well … a fiery exclamation. The acceleration and ferociousness captures perfectly the threat of hell and damnation.   The word “shake” uses a melisma that actually sounds like the singer is shaking.  And, if you listen really closely you can hear the violins play a run that is reminiscent of  the “flames” of the “refiner’s fire” licking at the singer’s feet!

These are just two examples of many in Handel’s Messiah that make it interesting, exciting and accessible.  This is why the work has endured since its first performance in 1742.  We hope you will join the Long Beach Camerata Singers in their performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in Long Beach on November 30 and December 1, 2018.  Click HERE to purchase tickets.

 

Homer (Simpson) Loves Handel

We all know that GF Handel is famous for his iconic chorus from the oratorio, Messish, the Hallelujah Chorus.  He’s so famous, it turns out, that even Homer Simpson likes his music.  This is evidenced by the fact that the Hallelujah Chorus has appeared in the soundtrack of The Simpsons not once, not twice, but FIVE times!

  1.  “Bart Gets An F” (1990) —   Bart is about to flunk out of 4th grade.  A snowstorm saves him, to the accompaniment of the Hallelujah Chorus.  Other music in this episode:  Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
  2. “There’s Something About Marrying” (2005) —  Bart becomes a minister to capitalize on the rash of weddings about to take place due to the legalization of gay marriage.  Other music in this episode:  Let’s Twist Again.
  3. “Thank God It’s Doomsday” (2005) — Homer hears about the Rapture, and by using numerology to calculate when the Rapture is coming he learns that it is only one week away.  Other music in this episode:  The Flower Duet from Lakme.
  4. “The Treehouse of Horror” (2017 — Maggie gets possessed by a demon; Lisa discovers a creepy/perfect version of her family in an alternative universe; Homer cannibalizes himself.  Other music in this episode:  On the Road Again.
  5. “Singin’ in the Lane” (2017) — Homer gets his old bowling team back together and they wind up competing with arrogant millionaires.  Other music in this episode:  The Boys Are Back in Town.

Long Beach Camerata Singers will be performing Handel’s Messiah, including The Hallelujah Chorus, on November 30/Dec 1.  We hope you will join us.  Click HERE to buy tickets.

How GF Handel Made History Reusing Music

GF Handel, like most composers of his era, borrowed and recycled musical themes on a routine basis.  Today, we would consider the practice at best, distasteful, and at worst, plagiarism.  But in Handel’s time it was a sign of respect.

As we know, “Messiah” was composed in just 24 days.  Part of the reason Handel was able to accomplish this remarkable feat is that four of the major choruses in the oratorio were “repurposed” from earlier work that the composer had done.

In the beloved Chorus, “For Unto Us a Child Is Born,” Handel not only borrowed music from one of his earlier compositions, he pretty much lifted in intact and just set it right down in the middle of the Messiah score.  The original composition was a duet for 2 Sopranos, an allegro movement from HWV 189, a short cantata called “No, di voi non vo’ fidarmi” or “No, I do not want to trust you.”  This piece was composed in 1741, shortly before Handel began work on Messiah, but it harkens back to his Italian sojourn in the early eighteenth century, when these vocal miniatures established his reputation as an up-and-coming composer.  Click Here to listen to a performance of the duet, beautiful and a bit bizarre in its original incarnation.

Stranger still, Handel was not done borrowing from this particular cantata.  The final movement of the cantata is another allegro section and yes, you guessed it, was also reincarnated into the “Messiah” oratorio, this time morphing into “All We Like Sheep.”  Use the same link as above to listen, but advance to 3:35 seconds to hear the second allegro.

If borrowing twice is successful, why not do it again?  And again still? Source material for “His Yoke Is Easy” and “He Shall Purify” was supplied by Duetto XV, HWV 192, “Quel fior che all’alba ride” or “That flower that laughs at daybreak.”  Again, the borrowing is deep and extensive.    Listen Here to this beautiful music.

Regardless of how he got there, we can only be grateful that GF Handel composed this great, enduring piece of music.

Long Beach Camerata Singers will perform Handel’s Messiah with Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra on Friday, November 30 at 7:30pm, and again, on Saturday December 1, at 3:30pm.  Both performances will feature a pre-concert lecture one hour before the concert.  The Beverly O’Neill Theater is the venue for these events.  On Saturday, a holiday sing-a-long will kick off the afternoon.  Tickets are $30 and $45.  Click HERE to visit our website to learn more and purchase tickets.

Baroque Trivia: Five Crazy Facts About Handel’s Messiah

IMG_2875It’s a good thing that Peanut wasn’t GF Handel’s dog — he never would have put up for being ignored during that 3-week period when the master composed Messiah!  You can see that Mr. Peanut is ready for the holidays in this photo, wearing his little hunter’s cap. The little guy is surprisingly good natured about having his photo taken! Here’s some interesting trivia about this beloved piece for your reading pleasure:

  1.  Messiah is rich with vast effects derived from simple means,  along with beautiful melodies and the insistent rhythms that are characteristic of the Baroque era, easy to love and hard to forget.
  2. The Music gains extraordinary intensity through the Baroque compositional technique of “word painting,” in which the flow of notes in the music actually seems to replicate a shape or contour that the words describe.
  3. Papa Haydn, always generously praising the merits of other composers, called Handel “der Meister von uns allen,” or  “the master of us all” at a performance of Messiah. But Beethoven, who was far more grudging with his approval, used almost the same words—“der unerreichte Meister aller Meisters,” “the unequalled master of all masters.”

  4. images-13The association between diva soprano and the soprano solo role in Messiah extends more than a century earlier, back to the legendary Jenny Lind, who barnstormed the U.S. as a Barnum-sponsored headliner in the 1840s. On one of her transatlantic crossings, the Swedish Nightingale asked the ship’s captain to wake her before dawn, without specifying a reason for her request. At the appointed hour, she stood with him at the ship’s railing as the sun rose over the waters and sang “I Know My Redeemer Liveth.”

  5.  Handel’s Messiah continues to exert a very real influence upon modern composers.  Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, composed in 1971, brings together music, dance and diverse religious and secular traditions in a way that owes much to Handel.  Andrew Lloyd Webber—like Handel, a master of theatrical craft in music—wrote a requiem mass as his only full- scale classical work. Paul McCartney, too, ventured into oratorio with his only classical work, The Liverpool Oratorio.

    This year will be the tenth annual performance of Messiah by the Long Beach Camerata Singers.  The chorus will be accompanied by Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra
    Camerata sings Handel’s Messiah.  TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $40.  www.LBCamerata.org or call 562-373-5654.  Sunday December 3, 4:30pm, Beverly O’Neill Theater

     

5 Big Reasons to Hear Camerata Perform Handel’s Messiah on Sunday!

IMG_2892Mr. Peanut is getting ready for the Holidays.  If you watched his Thanksgiving Message, you know he is expecting lots of goodies.  Today Peanut would like to recommend that you attend the upcoming performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Long Beach Camerata Singers — it’s a holiday tradition!  Here are 5 big reasons to attend this year’s show:

  1.  Bring Family and Friends Together — In a world laden with consumer goods, why not invest in an afternoon with the people who are important in your life?  Put down the cell phone, step away from the computer and, yes, visit with people — in person!  You won’t regret it.
  2. Build Traditions that Endure — It is important for both children and adults to have traditions in their lives, traditions that define the season and create memories; traditions that can be passed on to future generations.  Traditions loom large when we remember our childhoods.  If you don’t already have a holiday musical tradition, our concert is the perfect place to start.
  3. The Beauty of the MusicIMG_2303There’s a reason why this piece of music has endured for almost 300 years — it’s unbelievably beautiful!  The compelling melodies, the dramatic arias and the powerful recitatives never fail to thrill.  You will be surprised at how much of the music is familiar to you — and don’t forget the Hallelujah Chorus.  Be prepared to stand for that one!
  4. The Power of the Message — Regardless of your belief system, Messiah is filled with important reminders of our highest values.  Goodwill toward others, hope for a better life, comfort for those in distress:  these are the impulses that build our character.  It doesn’t matter if you attend church, or which denomination, if any, your subscribe to.
  5. Get a Brain Massage — Give your poor, overworked brain a rest!  images-18Allow the sounds of the chorus, soloists and orchestra to flow through you !  Close your eyes and float on the river of sound.  Your brain will be washed clean of electronic beeps, digital images and the cluttered detritus of our daily lives for this small piece of time.
This year will be the tenth annual performance of Messiah by the Long Beach Camerata Singers.  The chorus will be accompanied by Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra.
Camerata sings Handel’s Messiah.  TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE $30/$45.  www.LBCamerata.org or call 562-373-5654.  Sunday December 3, 4:30pm Beverly O’Neill  Theater

“The Music of Downton Abbey” — Handel’s Coronation Anthem

83e55955-dc96-4394-b949-b2e275f4ddcdLong Beach Camerata Singers will open their “Music of Downton Abbey” concert with GF Handel’s iconic “Coronation Anthem” from Zadok the Priest.   Today’s post is excerpted from the concert’s program notes, prepared by Matthew Netto.

Beethoven once said of George Frideric Handel that he was “the master of us all… the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel before his tomb.” Beethoven praised Handel’s ability to achieve stunning dramatic effects with the simplest of techniques. Though Händel was born in Halle, Germany, he spent the majority of his career providing opera and oratorio to the elite of London. Handel permanently settled there in 1712 (at age 27).

In 1727, the about-to-be-crowned George II  commissioned Handel to compose music for his coronation. Relying on his knowledge of the drama present in the Old Testament, and referencing the coronation of King James II in 1685, Handel selected four texts on which to compose choral anthems for the George II’s coronation. The most famous of these,150412_LBCS-016 Zadok the Priest, references the anointing of King Solomon. This anthem is well known to the British people as a patriotic anthem. Zadok the Priest has been performed at the coronation of every single British monarch since George II on October 11, 1727. Though Handel originally composed this work with standard, festive, instrumentation of the Baroque orchestra, the Camerata Singers present the work this evening with a reduction of the orchestral parts for organ.

Considering the gravity of a coronation, Handel provides a highly dramatic flourish worthy of the installation of royalty. The work starts with a soft layering of static chords to prepare a grand forte entrance of the full orchestra and chorus. In the central section of the anthem, Handel shifts into a joyful triple-meter dance as the chorus sings the words “Rejoice!” Handel then returns to common (4) time for the exultant Hallelujahs and Amens. Listen carefully for the musical ideas which harken to the famous Hallelujah chorus from Messiah, as Handel was fond of borrowing from his compositions.

Please join the Long Beach Camerata Singers for their upcoming concert, “The Music of Downton Abbey,” on October 2 at 4:30pm.  Performed at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in Long Beach, California.  Your ticket price includes “Cream Tea” at Elise’s Tea Room in Bixby Knolls to enhance your concert experience!  Click Here to purchase tickets.DA Card

If you purchase a season subscription (3 concerts or more) you will be treated to the “Lady Violet Tea” at Elise’s Tea Room.  Click Here to purchase subscriptions.

For more information about “The Music of Downton Abbey” please visit our Website.