“Amen!” As we sang the final chorus of Messiah at rehearsal last night I was reminded that no one has responded to my invitation a couple of weeks ago to find out how many “Amen”s there are in the Amen Chorus. So I decided to count them for myself.
The answer is that there are 142 “Amen”s in the Amen Chorus. The Sopranos sing 26, the Altos 37, the Tenors 38, and we Basses sing the most, 41. The last figure is not surprising as we kick the whole thing off. However, the figure for the Sopranos is interesting. While the rest of us sing largely short phrases, the Sopranos sing long, flowing, arch-like phrases which gives each “Amen” a longer span. Very effective choral writing, as you would expect from none other than Mr. Handel.
I did warm very much to Carlos’ request for us to sing this chorus with wisdom. We have already done justice to the triumphal mood in “Blessing and honour, glory and power be unto Him.” A finish which reflects on the whole piece with understanding and wisdom is so much more effective than just another big noise. It acts almost as an Epilogue, more meditative and thoughtful, making it a commentary on all that has gone before.
That having been said, I imagine that right at the end we will all sing the final “Amen”s with as much gusto as we can produce after a vocally demanding two hours of singing.
And now for something completely different. As I write, there are tickets available for all the evening concerts of the Sydney Chamber Music Festival, held in Manly Art Gallery this weekend. Tonight’s (Friday) and Saturday’s concerts are delightful combinations of instruments playing music on the theme “Figuratively Speaking” to match the current art exhibition. On Sunday, none other than the world-renowned pianist Piers Lane is giving a recital. I can think of no better way to spend a Sunday evening. To be able to hear such an accomplished and famous pianist in the intimate setting of the Manly Art Gallery, is incomparable. Festival Director Bridget Bolliger has worked wonders to include him in the programme. It is inconceivable that there are still seats available. But there are. So click here to book them straight away. See you there!