UNSOLICITED ADVICE

ON THE SIXTEENTH DAY OF CRANKVENT... CAN YOU HANDEL THE TRUTH?

Ahh Christmas. Such wonderful music abounds—on every street corner, in every store and accompanying every YouTube advertisement! Truly we live in a golden age of Christmas music—who can resist the smooth musical stylings of Justin Bieber's Mistletoe? [1] Is that Mariah Carey's All I want for Christmas you're humming? [2] Please, play me The Pogue's Fairytale of New York again! [3]

But there is one false prophet amongst these jewels. A wolf in sheep's clothing, an emperor with no clothes, a freaking endless nightmare of an oratorio written by apparent sadist George Frideric Handel. That's right, the Messiah.

Do not let yourself be fooled into attending a performance of this crime against the Geneva Convention. You may nod beatifically through Isaiah's Prophecy of Salvation and The Prophecy of Christ's Birth. Your enthusiasm will start to wane somewhat during The Annunciation to the Shepherds. The seats will start to feel very uncomfortable by the end of Christ's Passion. (You will inevitably be attending a performance in a Town Hall, which are renown for poor sight angles and hard chairs). By The Beginnings of Gospel Preaching you may notice your eyelid twitching and may entertain fantasies about murdering the chap with the whistling nose who is sitting nearby, by stabbing him with a sharpened pencil or suffocating him with a cough lozenge. But then, only a eight movements later, during God's Ultimate Victory—Hallelujah, it's the Hallelujah chorus! We are so out of here!

Hahaha you fool!! Hallelujah is merely the end of Part II! THERE IS A WHOLE OTHER PART STILL TO COME. Sit back down on your bruised bum bones and grit your teeth through The promise of Eternal Life; press your nails into your flesh to keep yourself from screaming through The Final Conquest of Sin. You cannot leave until the Amen that ends The Acclamation of the Messiah. (Unless there is an encore). Then flee, flee into the night, never to return!

It's not even really strictly Christmassy. It does of course cover Christ's birth (in Part I) but also his life, death, resurrection and ascension. It would be equally appropriate at Easter. 

Plus, there's the Handel factor. This is the same guy who wrote Music for the Royal Fireworks and the nearly-indistinguishable-from-Music-for-the-Royal Fireworks Water Music. English baroque. Pom pom pom tinkle tinkle tinkle tinkle oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh IT JUST GOES ON AND ON AND ON LIKE THAT FOR LIKE NINETY MINUTES.

Nuff said. Don't say I didn't warn you.

ALICE CANNON, MELBOURNE

  1. ME
  2. STOP IT
  3. NOOOOOO
Workers removing the dead from the concert hall after a performance of Handel's Messiah. One concert-goer appears to have gnawed off his own arm during the performace, before succumbing to despair and hopelessness. I am not sure why the the person pulling the cart is flashing a boob. A cart of plague victims at Elliant drawn by a woman in rags. Lithograph by Louis Duveau, after Moynet. Wellcome Library, London, image number L0004076.

Workers removing the dead from the concert hall after a performance of Handel's Messiah. One concert-goer appears to have gnawed off his own arm during the performace, before succumbing to despair and hopelessness. I am not sure why the the person pulling the cart is flashing a boob. A cart of plague victims at Elliant drawn by a woman in rags. Lithograph by Louis Duveau, after Moynet. Wellcome Library, London, image number L0004076.