Friday, December 17, 2004

Hallelujah Caught us

An interesting discussion arose this evening when we were at The Royal Albert Hall waiting to hear Handel's Messiah.

I've never been to hear it before (though I have sung it and performed sections from it) but Mike and Wayne reliably informed me that it is traditional to stand for the Hallelujah chorus. Apparently this is because George III stood when he first heard it because it moved him so much. I had no recollection of this custom (of course when I sang it I was standing anyway!) but didn't remember seeing people stand for anything except the national anthem. Fortunately when the moment came the conductor in fact indicated that we should all stand and we duly did so.

The interesting thing is I am used to standing for the Hallelujah as I do so every Sunday when we sing Alleluias before the Gospel reading at the Eucharist. The idea of this being that standing is a sign of respect. Is this what the audience was doing this evening? Who was it for? What was the standing ABOUT?

The other thing the evening taught me was that some people clearly didn't get educated in theatre and concert going as I did when I was a child (I sound like such a granny!). My parents brought me up to know that ou only clap at the END of a piece of music (hence only twice in the Messiah; at the interval and at the end) and that you don't HUM along to music at a concert no matter how tempted you might be. Also if you need to pass people to get to your seats you FACE them and thank them politely and apologise for the inconvenience.

I have to admit that the Americans were right in saying that the British were deeply lacking in manners!


Anonymous said...

I like the hallelujah chorus as it's quite easy to remember the words! Youthblog

Roger Vere Youth Worker said...

Well the guy behind us managed to get the words in the wrong places! I had to restrain my smirks!