Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. - Ludwig van Beethoven
Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. - Plato
Music is the shorthand of emotion. - Leo Tolstoy
I listened to Handel's Messiah for the first time the summer after I graduated college. Sure, as a kid I made fun of the Hallelujah chorus, just like any other civilized (and slightly cultured) child would do, but I never had heard it in its entirety up until that point. But I have loved it since the moment I first listened to it. The beauty of the individual movements, as well as the piece as a whole, is one that has made itself a permanent home in my heart.
***True confessions: one of the only reasons I bought it was because I had a gift card. And because it was recommended to me by a guy I thought was cute***
Reasons to listen to Messiah:
1) It is more beautiful than any other thing I have heard.
2) Handle wrote it in an astonishing 24 days. Two hundred and fifty nine pages of sheet music in only 24 days.
3) It is a commentary on the person of Jesus--weaving together prophecy of his birth, his actual birth, life, death, and resurrection, and then culminating in His Glorification in Heaven.
4) It is an interactive piece--the audience stands at the beginning of the Hallelujah chorus. This is a tradition started (unbeknown to him) by King George II. There are various rumors of why he stood up during this piece. Some say that he was so inspired by the movement that standing in honor was the only way he could respond. Others say that it is because he may have fallen asleep, and that the drama of the movement literally roused him from his slumber in such a state that he was scared awake! But either way, when the King of England stands up, everyone stands up. Otherwise, heads will roll!
5) There really is no other piece of music that can inspire and comfort me as much as this one. The clear Biblical focus, the way that it always points people towards the Person of Jesus, the way that we are constantly reminded of the high cost of Grace and our deep need for Redemption, it truly is a piece that was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
If you want, you can listen to Messiah in its entirety here (thank you, NPR). I have also found it helpful to read the lyrics. :)