I'm sitting on the sofa listening to Handel's Messiah.
It was years before I knew that there was much much more to Messiah than the Hallelujah Chorus. When I did find out, it was like I'd been given a present. I love this music so much.
My first inkling that there was more to the piece was in high school. I was an alto in the glee club, and we sang a few of the choruses for our Christmas concert: Oh Thou Who Givest Good Tidings to Zion, For Unto Us a Child Is Born, and (of course!) the Hallelujah Chorus for the big finish. A couple of the girls with really good voices got to do solos; I was not one of them. My favorite of the solos (arias?) is He Shall Feed His Flock.
I used to sing it to SonnyeBoy as a lullaby, so sweet of a tune it is.
Anyhow, one of our assignments was to listen to the entire oratorio. When I did, I was transported.
I have seen Messiah performed live twice, both times at Washington National Cathedral, a fitting place indeed. The combined men's, boy's, and girl's choirs backed up the guest soloists (one year, there was a countertenor!) and the Baroque orchestra played the music. It was sublime.
So on this quiet Christmas, with Joe relaxing downstairs and SonnyeBoy on his way, I am letting the music wash over me and thinking that it is, once again, the best Christmas ever.