In this fresh take on Handel's beloved oratorio, Ayres re-conceives each Messiah movement in one of the musical styles that have appeared since Handel wrote the original. A tour de force of musical innovation, the variations throughout - jazz, gospel, mash-ups, improvisation, sight-gags - are rooted in Handel's familiar melodies and harmonies. But even in movements that musically stray, sometimes rather far, from the original Messiah scoring, the focus and the meaning is still very clear.
As Ayres himself describes: "Sometimes there are changes to metre and rhythm, and sometimes the harmony or text has undergone a transformation. Some movements have had their essential elements distilled into a few moments' intensity, and some musical ideas have been expanded and developed along startlingly tangential lines." Messyah-one might think of this as the "messy" version of the original-is a joyous, spirited celebration of the all-time classic.
Although earlier versions of Messyah have been performed locally, BCG commissioned Ayres to complete the remaining movements for our December concert. BCG will collaborate with the Redwood Symphony, Erik K director, for the world's first presentation of this newly completed Messyah score. Joining us on this exciting adventure are the young and vibrant vocal soloists, Ann Moss, soprano, Kathleen Moss, alto, Michael Desnoyer, tenor, and Igor Vieira, bass.
Stephen Smoliar reviewed the 2010 San Francisco concert - "When Ayres cuts loose with his few pop settings with jazz combo accompaniment, the joyousness of the result is as true to the religious spirit as was the original setting."
And a 2010 chorus member: "My brother talked about it for months afterward, saying it was one of the best performances of his life. Another group of friends went home after the concert and stayed up late talking about it! It's light, it's deep, it's funny, it's serious, it's thought-provoking, it's vexing, it has magic!"
Presented by Bay Choral Guild