A "Messiah" for our time: an analysis of Sven-David Sandström's new oratorio
Reno, Timothy John
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In honor of Handel's anniversary year in 2009, German conductor Helmuth Rilling commissioned Swedish composer Sven-David Sandström to create a new oratorio using the text of Messiah, by Charles Jennens. The composer, who has written several pieces in homage to baroque and classical masters, describes his work as "an old-fashioned slideshow." Performing the work with the Festivalensemble Stuttgart during the European premiere performance tour inspired Timothy Reno to use Sandström's own pictorial ideas as the basis for creating an image-based musical analysis of the entire work. Comparison to Handel's Messiah and other works is made where applicable, and insights and suggestions for future performances and a list of score errata have been included. It is hoped that this study will be useful for potential conductors of the work, as well as anyone who seeks to discover how Sandström uses simple elements in a variety of ways to create the sonic images and effects of this new Messiah. Hearing Jennens' words set to new music may provide an experience similar to what audiences of Handel's own day may have felt over 250 years ago.