The Tabernacle Choir Blog

More than Hallelujahs: Update on Handel’s Messiah

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been singing Handel’s Messiah for years. Music scores of the composition in the Choir’s library are dog-eared from wear. Those who follow the Choir know that a singular recording of the entire oratorio is being made for distribution in 2015.

The Choir’s recording of Handel’s most famous work is being made in steps. First, the Choir and the Orchestra, in a series of 8 sessions, recorded the 17 choruses from the oratorio last spring.  The Orchestra at Temple Square recently completed the musical accompaniment (“beds”) for the soloists’ tracks. This all-volunteer orchestra—nearly 100 participating from a roster of 200—has been accompanying the Choir in recordings, broadcasts, and concerts since its creation in 1999. 

Both the choruses and orchestral beds were recorded in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, the Choir’s home.  This nineteenth-century pioneer structure is an unusual recording studio but one fitted with state-of-the-art recording technology. Sound engineers lay down tracks in typical recording style.  The sessions took advantage of the acoustical phenomenon of the domed Tabernacle that lifts the music and wraps it around the listener in exquisite tones.

The Choir performed the full oratorio at Easter 2014 and not only filled the Tabernacle but three overflow venues on Temple Square. The Salt Lake Tribune described the concert as a “rousing performance that brought [the] usually well-behaved audience to its feet cheering.” Tens of thousands people around the world viewed the performance via a live stream on the Choir’s website and on its YouTube channel that same weekend.

Next up in the process is the recording of the world-famous soloists. We’ll keep you posted on that next step in this new recording of beloved Messiah.