For Christmas this year, my husband gave me tickets to see the performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Being the lover of jazz music that I am, my husband was a little concerned that I would not care to go. I told him not to worry, I was really looking forward to it, and I really was. We had not been to anything in the way of performing arts in quite a while, outside of those put on by our church, and had not been to a show in downtown Nashville in a couple of years.
The Nashville Symphony was started in 1945, and made it’s home at the Schermerhorn when they opened their doors in 2006. Since the year 2000, the orchestra has won 11 GRAMMY awards out of 20 nominations and since 2008 they have been under the leadership of acclaimed conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Everything from rock to classical is performed here, and I honestly haven’t heard a bad word about any of it.
I had never been to the Schermerhorn, and upon entering knew the show would be wonderful. The Neo-Classical architecture is absolutely gorgeous, and the staff are there for your every need. There is a coat check, two bars, a cafe, which is currently under renovation, as well as plenty of restrooms. Even if you don’t see a show, it is fun to just check inside the box office or lobby and see if they will let you look around. Hotels and eateries are nearby as it is only a block off of Broadway, the heart of downtown. One word of caution: as with any big city these days, it pays to do your homework and review maps of available parking.
The performance of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah by the Nashville Symphony and the Nashville Choir was phenomenal. I really never knew who Handel was, what his composition of the Messiah is other than the bits and pieces that I just happened to see performed by a church choir or heard on the radio. According to the program we received, titled, In Concert, Handel wrote the original 260 page masterpiece in just over three weeks in 1741. Consisting of three parts, Messiah was originally written as a musical score for an Easter celebration in Dublin. The text, written by Charles Jennens, describes in biblical verse the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Over the years Handel continued making revisions, even adding new segments to the piece. After Handel’s death, Messiah evolved from a traditional Easter performance to the beloved piece of music that we look forward to each year at Christmas. It is believed that during the 1743 premiere of Messiah in London, King George II stood up at the start of the Hallelujiah Chorus, to which the crowd followed suit and it is still a tradition to this very day.
I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Be safe and let me know if you have seen Handel’s Messiah and your thoughts. God bless!
All photos and artwork ©2017 Denny Martindale, All Rights Reserved