The 1742 Messiah Appeal
Peter Whelan and the Irish Baroque Orchestra will record Handel’s Dublin 1742 ‘Messiah’ in 2024. With step-out solos taken from the IBO’s own chorus of outstanding singers, this will be a ‘Messiah’ like no other, reclaimed in its first recording from an Irish group on historical instruments.
This release will be a key album in the IBO’s Irish heritage recording cycle on Linn Records, which explores the wealth of material from Ireland in the 18th century.
"I cannot sufficiently express the kind treatment I receive here, but the Politeness of this generous Nation cannot be unknown to you, so I let you judge of the satisfaction I enjoy, passing my time with Honour, Profit and Pleasure".
Handel wrote these words to the librettist Charles Jennens (known for his work on the libretto for ‘Messiah’) in 1741, during his time in Dublin. The city afforded him a period of artistic rehabilitation, following a hard period in London which had affected his health and his finances. During this Dublin stay he re-worked several of his pieces for performances in the city, including ‘Esther’, ‘L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato’ & ‘Acis and Galatea’.
Handel’s visit to Dublin will forever be associated with the first performance of Messiah at Fishamble Street in 1742. There was huge appetite for the first performance, with men encouraged to leave their swords at home, and ladies asked to remove the hoops from their skirts, so that the building could be filled. Windows had to be removed to make more space and a second performance had to be hastily arranged, such was the clamour to hear it again.
Handel left a rich musical legacy in Dublin, bustling with interesting characters, great stories and fantastic music. This period provides the inspiration for the IBO’s Irish heritage programming, combining the rare, familiar and uniquely Irish. In this context ‘Messiah’ is both a centrepiece and a launchpad. While the piece went on to enjoy broader success some years later, it was Dublin’s audiences that took ‘Messiah’ to their hearts from the first hearing.
Acclaim for the IBO’s performance of the 1742 Dublin ‘Messiah’ at London’s Wigmore Hall in April 2023
“A wonderfully vital and compelling account of Handel’s original version of Messiah where the performers’ sheer sense of joy came over in every note.” Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill
“An amazing, beautiful and emotionally uplifting experience. For me, without a doubt, the outstanding musical experience of my life so far, bar none”
“The most astonishing performance I’ve ever seen. Every soloist was amazing - so passionate and clearly delighting in each others’ performances too. Really wonderful!”
“An absolutely glorious performance of Messiah”
All donations of any size are gratefully welcomed to this appeal!