Stefan Walcott, Barbados
Handel’s Caribbean Messiah: The Global Handel
Handel’s Caribbean Messiah is a two-hour interpretation of the canonical Messiah by George Frideric Handel. The work features the syncretisation of folk and popular music from the Anglo, Hispanic and Franco Caribbean with the traditional oratorio of Handel.
This paper will look at the creation of the music of Handel’s Caribbean Messiah from the initial idea to performance by examining two pieces: “And he shall purify the sons of Levi” and “For unto us a child is born”. It will examine the importance of the rhythmic binary, antiphonal singing, polyrhythmic deep structure and harmonic extensions to the process of re-imagining Messiah. It will also look briefly at issues of authenticity which arise with a contemporary repositioning of a work from the Western European canon.