Wednesday, May 03, 2006

10Jun1859, Rehearsal of Handel Festival

LONDON, June 10th, 1859.
—We went with Papa and the Talbots to the British Institution, where were beautiful Gainsboroughs, etc. We wrote and directed more than 200 cards for a concert. And in the evening I had a great delight, in the rehearsal by 1,600 voices of part of the Handel Festival, at Exeter Hall. I could apply to it nothing but the words of Revelation : " The voice of many waters, and the voice of mighty thunderings," the basses especially ; the absence of all instruments except organ, and now and then drums, only showing how infinitely above them is a great unity of human voice. Oh, if I could but give an idea of it ! One of the things was the Dettingen Te Deum, and it was almost appalling to hear : " We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge," shouted with that tremendous harmony by so many : of each of whom it is true. " We praise Thee, 0 God ! " and this was praise fit for the Lord of Sabaoth ! " All the earth doth worship Thee " —and indeed one cd fancy the whole world joining in that triumphant worship. And the end, so grand in its trust : " Let me never be confounded." It might be Heaven —only it is over, and that is for ever and ever.

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