Wednesday, December 23, 2015

25 More Days of Old Time Radio Christmas: Day 23 - The Messiah from Theater of Romance

There may be but a few classical music pieces that are as well known as the Hallelujah chorus from  George Frideric Handel's Messiah.  In many ways, it is the anthem of the Christmas season.  And while its fame has grown over the years, its origins are not that well known.  But in this account of how this moving piece came to be, the Theater of Romance provided a dramatic reenactment of how Handel wrote this iconic piece.  This is my entry for today's Old Time Radio Christmas blog.

This is the second year I have showcased different Old Time Radio programs for Christmas.  Here is a link to all the 2014 OTR Christmas entries.  If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148).  He does a great job of showcasing great holiday themed episodes, especially now that we are days away from Christmas.

2014 Annual Cathy Heifetz Memorial Concerts - University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Combined Chiors (Sunday June 1, 2014)
University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Combined Choirs - June 2014
There are hundreds and hundreds of Christmas themed Old Time Radio shows that have been preserved and are available for us to enjoy today, many years after they first broadcast over the airwaves.  Recently, I listened to one I had not heard before on my way into work, listening to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148). It was Colgate's Theater of Romance and their presentation of how Handel wrote his most famous work, "The Messiah."  It was broadcast on December 25, 1945, the first Christmas in many years that was free of war in the United States.  A welcome state indeed.

Jean Holloway provided a great script for this Colgate sponsored show.  The script weaves beautifully between the life of George Frederick Handel, the story of the Nativity, and the music of The Messiah.  It is really quite wonderful and perfect for the holidays.  Movie star Edward Arnold plays Handel.  He might be best known for two roles as the bad guy in Frank Capra movies: Jim Taylor in the 1939 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and D.B. Norton in the 1941 Meet John Doe.  Joining Arnold in the cast is Cathy Lewis, Lou Merrill, Jack McCarthy, and Lud Gluskin and His Orchestra.  The annoucer is one of my favorites - Detroit born Frank Graham who I featured last year as we recognized the centennial of his birth.

This wonderful program is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit!  I hope you enjoy.

The Messiah (December 25, 1945)

Here are some links to programs relating to Theater of Romance:
25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2015) & Other Links

25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

No comments:

Post a Comment