This is a bit of a cheat today, a workaround so that I can get away with posting Christmas music at Easter. The aria ‘Grosser Herr’ is one of my favourite bits of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, mainly for the solo trumpet part, which rises like bubbles in a champagne glass and I couldn’t omit it from this playlist because it makes me so happy. So here is a lovely recording by Benjamin Appl of the aria’s original incarnation, part of a musical drama for the birthday of Maria Josepha, Princess Elector of Saxony and Queen of Poland. Like many composers of the time, who were expected to churn out vast quantities of music very quickly, Bach was not averse to a bit of recycling, and I’m sure he recognised that what he’d written for Maria Josepha deserved better than the sycophantic banalities of the original text, and quite a bit of it became part 1 of the Christmas Oratorio.
Somehow, this was actually my first live Messiah since lockdown. Dunelm Consort and Players made it worth the wait in an evening pulsating with energy and joy.