Messiah choruses have long formed part of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square’s core repertory, going back well into the 19th century when the practice of large-scale oratorio performances took root in the United States as well. And the Choir has frequently led the way in making Handel’s celebrated music available to a wider public. Its first recording in 1910 included the “Hallelujah” chorus in what is almost certainly the first record of a Messiah excerpt made outside of England and the first recorded by a large, established choir. (The handful of earlier English recordings used small, ad hoc groups of singers.)
In June 1927, the Choir recorded “Worthy Is the Lamb” on its first “electrical” recording (that is, with microphones) a week before Sir Thomas Beecham conducted the first complete electrically- recorded Messiah in London. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s 1959 Messiah with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra earned a gold record and in 2005 was inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. Later recordings of Messiah choruses conducted by Richard Condie in 1974 and the complete oratorio under the direction of Sir David Willcocks in 1995 continued this legacy, and the “Hallelujah” chorus has appeared on more than a dozen of the Choir’s albums over the last century.