handel.soulfulHandel’s Messiah is surely An Unexpected Easter Masterpiece. But I’ve sung it often enough during Advent – that period before Christmas that we’re now in – to associate it more with this season, even though it was first performed in April 1742, to an audience of 700, “as ladies had heeded pleas by management to wear dresses ‘without Hoops’ in order to make ‘Room for more company.'”

Some 250 years later, Mervyn Warren begat Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, a “critically acclaimed gospel album by various artists. [It] has been widely praised for its use of multiple genres of African-American music, including spirituals, blues, ragtime, big band, jazz fusion, R&B and hip hop.

“The album received the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, as well as the 1992 Dove Award for Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year.”

Overture – London Philharmonic Orchestra
Overture: A Partial History of Black Music – Mervyn Warren, Janice Chandler Eteme, Dwayne Adell, Cedric Dent, Joe Hogue

Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain.
(Isaiah 40: 4)

Every Valley Shall Be Exalted – London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
“Every Valley Shall Be Exalted” Lizz Lee and Chris Willis (with Mike E.)

One Response to “Music Throwback Saturday: Every Valley Shall Be Exalted”

  • SamuraiFrog says:

    “Every Valley Shall Be Exalted” was one of the first pieces examined in a music appreciation course I took way back in community college, probably my favorite class I took there. The last version you link was quite unexpected. I dig that. Growing up Lutheran, we didn’t really have Handel in the church (LOTS of Bach, though). I remember once when I was in high school we had a jazz band play the service music, and there were a lot of oldsters who were very upset by “that kind of music” being in church. Like… guys, isn’t our thing that we’re supposed to be more relaxed about formalities?

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