How We Handel Today…

After reading the introduction and conclusion of “First Nights”by Thomas Forrest Kelly, I have to say that I am genuinely impressed and proud of where we stand in terms of musical performance today. I am happy that now-a-days women partake more roles in the performance of music and music in general. Since, Beethoven had to use children, younger men, and castrated men, also known as “castrattos” to sing the Soprano parts of the choir due to the a wrongly interpreted quote from the Apostle Paul. Paul had ordered women to keep silence in ecclesia, it means: in the community and in the congregation, but he himself never mentioned a ban on singing in church. Due to this women were banned to sing in church entirely for centuries, up until about 1900. People began accepting women to participate in these oratorios and sing certain male parts that are today known as women parts, such as Soprano, Alto, and in rare occasions even Tenor. It is really weird to think about the way things used to be, when we compare them to the way they are today. Today we do have all male and all female choirs, the fact that there exists only “all female” groups is really great. Today, Handel’s Messiah is performed by women and in some choral groups, even all women. We have definitely come a long way…

Thinking about this, there must have been a lot of pressure on the women who sang this for the first time. They must have felt very proud to be the first to break this mold, but at the same time very nervous. Imagine what they felt? The fact that only men had sung it, because of a very delicate misinterpretation that had to do with people’s religion. This could have meant that they already had a bias as to whether or not they would like it. Any little mistake could have been an immediate stop to any possibility of women participating in choirs for even a longer time. Probably because of the mindset that only men were apt enough to deliver the job. But, I am glad society took a step forward and gave women the opportunity to prove, they too, could deliver beautiful oratorios to people. So much, they continue to deliver them a century later and the centuries to come…