Joy To the World
Program notes for the 1996 AGEHR Area XII Conference Choir, San Diego, California
Handel (1685-1759) learned violin, oboe, organ, harpsichord and music composition in spite of his father's profession as a barber-surgeon. He began to study law, but music held a stronger appeal. He had the opportunity to become organist-successor to Dietrich Buxtehude, but a condition of this employment opportunity - marriage to Buxtehude's daughter - forced his retreat. His Italian-style operas were a great success in England. He moved to England in 1711 where he remained for over 25 years, a naturalized British subject since 1727. The success of The Messiah in Ireland in 1741 restored his wealth.
This arrangement of the familiar carol is not for the timid of bell or ear. Expect the unusual! Clashing dissonance and a quick 10/8 meter (3/8 + 3/8 + 2/8 + 2/8) - a conductor's challenge - vary the overworked melody. This is a satisfyingly refreshing adjustment, honoring one of Area XII's directors.