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THE GREAT HANDEL FESTIVAL. It is not easy to clothe with expression the fresh ideas and tumultuous emotions awakened by the stu- pendous musical events which have so recently oc- curred. So rapidly has triumph followed triumph, and success followed success, that at the Crystal Palace the worshippers of the "father of music" have been intoxicated with raptare and carried away by enthusiasm. Surprise of a. most vivid kind has been a prevailing sentiment throughout the last week. English people generally pride themselves upon an in. timate acquaintance with the werks of their favourite composer. How genera!, then, must have been the feeling of consternation, no less than of humiliation, called forth by the porformauces of which we are now writing. The Handel Festival of 1865, by presenting to as cur much-prized oratorios under an entirely new aspect, has indeed made us aware of our ignorance, and has shown us how much we have still to learn of him whose na.meand whose works are very household words among us. The task of the critic becomes, under these conditions, unusually difficult. So'much has already been said and written of Handel, that the catalogue of laudatory phrases is quite exhausted. Handel's music may be compared not inaptly to a noble gem,which, though cut a.nd polished, is still valued solely for its inmate worth, greatlyenhanced though its beauty may be by the skill of a clever workman. Unlike the composers of a later period, Handel produces all his astounding effects by the employment of the most ordinary harmonies. He at times takes pleasure in writing what is called 'descriptive" music, one of the best known examples of which style is, perhaps, the orchestral accompaniment to the air from Israel "Their land brought forth frogs." Another example of a different nature, bat infinitely more beautiful, is to be found in the deliciously undulating symphonies of the sweet song from "Jephtha," "Waft her angels." But it is in gigantic conception and massive simplicity that the composer's peculiar excellence is exhibited. It is high time, however, to quit gene- ralities and to proceed with the matter immediately before us. Monday, the first day of the festival, was devoted totheperforIDance of Handel's greatest work, The Messiah, than which surely no more fitting commencement could be found for so imposing a cere- monial. It is but right that the grandest musical demonstration the world has ever witnessed should be prefaced by the, grandest and most sablime music ever written. But what can be said anew of his noble work, every bar of which has been com- mented and re-commented upon by musicians of every degree since its first production, nearly 120 years ago ? To again call attention to the innumerable beauties of the Messiah would be to waste both time and space. To criticise afresh music which has been the idol of all true lovers of their art for nearly a century and a quarter is simply impertinence. Of Monday's performance and performers something, however, may be written. From beginning to end of the conceit a marked improvement upon the public rehearsal wa3 discernible. The huge body of tone was more per- fectly blended, the fugues more distinct, and the tringed instruments more sonorous than on the previous occasion. MdUe. Adelina Patti achieved a great success in the lovely air "Rejoice greatly," the florid she sang with the perfect fluency, the fexact precision, and the faultless intona- tion by which she -is distinguished. Had she taken the tempo -with a.little mora deliberation, her rendering of theair would have been absolutely faultless. An equal triumph was achieved by her in her only remaining song, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," which has seldom been so charmingly interpreted. It would not be possible for the most talented preacher to express by words so quiet and calm a, confidence of salvation as Handel has infused into this simple song; nor can any who weremot present on Monday picture to them- selves the combination of child-like simplicity and religious fervour with which it was rendered by Mdlle. Patti. The singing of the two airs, "He shall feed his flock," and" Come unto me," by Mesdames Sher- rington and Sainton-Dolby, must not be allowed to pass unnoticed. Mr. Sims Reeves also delivered the famous "Thou shalt break them," with all his wonted energy. Mr. Santley's singing of the furious bass song, Why do the nations," was superb; and his majestic reading of the solemn air, "The trumpet sound," was impressive in the extreme. The choruses were more than usually effective, the jubilant "For unto us a child is born"—at the commencement of which Mr. Costa substituted for his customary pianissimo the mezzo-forte written, 'and therefore intended, by the composer -being honoured with the only encore of the day. The noble "RaHelujah," and the concluding chorus, "Worthy is the Lamb"—the latter so seldom listened to by a London audience—were also splendidly performed. The number of visitors on the first day amounted to upwards of 13.000. The second day's performance commenced on Wed- nesday, with a selection from the too little known oratorio Saul. The opening chorus, How excellent thy name, 0 Lord," was magnificently given and much applauded. Solos for Madame Parepa and Mr. Santley were also introduced, as was the semi-chorus, Wel- eorae, weleome, mighty King," to the quaint accom- pamment of which, by string pizzierito and carillon, alluBion has been made. The principal feature of the selection from the oratorio was. however, undoubtedly, the intensely dramatic chorus,. Envy, eldest born of i Hell, in which several voice parts, after separately denouncing the vice in passages of immense; power, at length unite in one general commination, almost .appalling from its force and vigour. This chorus was instantly re-demanded, as was the succeeding l^ead March," which must ever remain nn-rf- vailed for simple solemnity. Prom Samson Mr. bantley gave the touching air, How willing my paternal love," a delicious song, charmingly j3, ttfollowed with the song ot the day, Let the bright Seraphim," in which, with the co-operation of Mr. Harper, she created an abso- lute furore. Many, accustomed to school themselves against emotion of any nature whatever, must have a thrili of enthsiasm rush through them. The song was naturally encored with enthusiasm, and at Mr-?osfc\wisely hurrying on to the immediately succeeding chorus, "Let their celestial eoi.cer„s all unite, ere the applause could burst forth a second time. To the Samson selection succeeded tZ° 8?ag.3 from Acts and Galatea, Love in her eyes sits Playing, dahciously gang by Mr. Sims Reeves, and the blustering recitative, "I rage, I burn with its pendant^ "gigantic" love song, "Oh ruddier than the cherry, the conclusion of whieh was a signal for such an uproar of applause as had not been heard throughout the festival. Mr. Santley at once repeated the song, concluding, as before with a magnificent high G, and the tumult was Sop- peased. The performance of this day was brought to an end by a selection from Judas. Trivial and unin- teresting as are the songs generally in this oratorio, we were somewhat surprised to see no fewer than three among the pieces chosen to represent the work j on this occasion. One of these, the warlike Sound an alarm," which is so thoroughly identified with Mr. Sims Reeves, could not, of course, have been omitted. For the remaining two, however, Pious orgies and "From mighty kings," charmingly snng though the latter was by Mademoiselle Patti, we think the fine chorus, Fall n is the foe," or the surpassingly-grand choral prayer "Hear us, O Lord," might have been substituted with advantage. We must not omit to mention ttat the Judas selection was preceded by the delicious Nightingale Chorus from Solomon, May no rash intruder." This exquisite composition, intro- duced most probably for the purpose of sho ving how thorough and complete a pianissimo Mr. Costa could command from his four thousand, was even better per- formed than in 1862, and was immediately re-de- manded. The noble anthem, "Zadok the Priest." composed for the coronation of King George II., was now for the first time given upon so colossal a scale. At the resolution from triple into common time of the second movement, on the words God save the Kiag,, the effect produced upon the hearers was irresistible, A large portion of the audience instantly rose, and re- maiaed standing until the conclusion of the anthem. Nothing finer or grander in its utter simplicity has been heard throughout the festival. The concert con- cluded with the splendid We laeyer will bow down," and the popula.r See the conquering hero," of which surely nothing need bs said anew. The audience on this day numbered 15,000. Friday, the third and last day, was devoted to Israel in Egypt. By many this oratorio is preferred to the Messiah, on account of the immensity of its choral music, the numerous choruses being unsur- passed for sublimity of conception and warmth of colouring. The first chorus, "Now there arose a new king," was remarkably well rendered. Despite a slight hesitation at its commencement the famons Hailstone chorus was rapturously received, and, a| ii.was repeated. The mysterious effect of the following ehorua, Ha sent a thick darkness," was greatly enhanced by the deep gloom which unex- pectedly overspread the sky, producisg a feeling akin f(°»e the huge assembly. The majestic chorus, Moses and the children of Israel," with its accom- panying brilliant fugue, "I will siag unto the Lord," were very well sung. A special charm was given to «TI.T foi" Mesdames Sherrington and Radersdorf, The Lord is my. strength," by the organ accom- paniment maintained throughout. The bass duet for Mr. Santley and Dr. Sehmid, The Lordis a man of war," was, as indeed, it always is, encored. By his singing on Friday Dr. Sehmid confirmed the impression we formed at the general rehearsal last week, that his style of singing is not adapted for oratorio, and that his voice is not sufficiently sonorous for a building so large as the Crystal Palace. Let us hope that before he again appears on so important an occasion he will have improved. The only remaining encores of the day were, "Thou didst blow," for Mdlle. Patti, and The enemy said," for Mr. Sims Reeves. So ended the grandest musical feast the world has probably ever witnessed. Of the pecuniary results we are as yet unable to speak with certainty—it is said they are about .26,000, but we understand that those in office are beginning to consider whether the profit, larg3 though it may appear, is worthy the enormous labour msurred in organising these festivals.



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