Easter music throwback: Hallelujah (Beethoven)

As I’ve mentioned before, when my sister Leslie and I were in high school in Binghamton, NY, we somehow had the opportunity to visit an eighth-grade class in suburban Vestal. It was only a few miles from the county seat, but, in the late 1960s, it was a cultural canyon.

What was amazing about this group was that they put out an album of classical and popular music. And one of the pieces was Hallelujah, from Christ on the Mount of Olives, Opus 85, an oratorio by Beethoven. They were rather good, as I recall. Where IS that LP?

From the Wikipedia: “[The oratorio] was begun in the fall of 1802… The libretto in German is by the poet Franz Xaver Huber, editor of the Wiener Zeitung, with whom Beethoven worked closely. It was written in a very short period; in a letter to Breitkopf & Härtel written shortly after the oratorio’s completion, Beethoven spoke of having written it in ‘a few weeks,’ although he later claimed that the piece required no more than 14 days to complete. It was first performed on April 5, 1803 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna; in 1811, it was revised by Beethoven for publication by Breitkopf & Härtel. The 10 years that passed between the composition of the work and its publication resulted in its being assigned a relatively high opus number.”

While the piece as a whole has had mixed response, including from the composer himself, “the “Welten singen…” finale chorus has enjoyed some popularity on its own.

And I’ve been singing it, off and on for about a half century myself, including this very day. There’s a surprise chord about 30 seconds before the end which is always my favorite.

LISTEN: to Hallelujah:

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

William Baker Festival Singers, Guest Singers from Area Parish Choirs, and Symphony Orchestra

Chancel Choir; Scott Dean, director; Wayne Slater, organist. June 12, 2016

Bonus:

Russian Easter Festival Overture – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

HAPPY EASTER!

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Hallelujah

When I was in high school in Binghamton (upstate NY) in the late 1960s, my sister Leslie, another black teenage girl and I were invited to visit the classroom of the junior high school in suburban Vestal. The reason, if I’m remembering correctly (and it was over 40 years ago) was that the only black teenagers they saw were ones on television, and in those days, that was mighty few.

Interestingly, the male teacher of this music class was black, who was likely the only one, and therefore one more than there was at the time at Binghamton Central HS.

We sat and talked and answered questions, and the session seemingly did what it was intended to do Continue reading