Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Is Messiah most performed work of all?

Hi Folks,
 
We are performing Handel's Messiah in a couple of weeks, and I will be giving a pre-concert talk.  It occurs to me that, when one considers amateur and professional performances by choruses, Messiah (or at least parts of it) must be the most performed work of all time.
 
Anyone know of evidence to support that assertion, and, if it's not Messiah, what the alternative might be?
 
Cheers,
-Bruce
on April 18, 2012 2:20pm
I can't fathom the amount of time it would take to perform the necessary research to validate (or negate) such a claim.  I suppose finding a consensus of supposition might be possible.
 
Among major choral works in the western, classical tradition, it seems that "Messiah" COULD be the most frequently publicly performed work.  I base this primarily on the fact that it is one of the few (only?) major choral works composed prior to the 19th century that has enjoyed more or less constant popularity throughout its existence.  My secondary consideration is that, as you mention above, I can't think of any potential rivals--that is, any work that is similarly popular and at least as old.  For example, if Messiah and the Mozart Requiem have been performed with similar frequency throughout their histories, then Messiah would win for having a 50 year head start.
 
What would be competitors to the, "most performed major choral work" title?  Mozart Requiem?  Haydn Creation?  I imagine there are some small a cappella or piano accompanied works sung by high-school choirs everywhere that one might claim as, "most performed," but I gather that isn't what you're thinking of.
 
Anyway, I find this interesting to ponder, but I would have trouble believing anyone's "proof" that any claim is either true or false. 
 
Cory
on April 18, 2012 9:29pm
Well, without the statistical support, we can only guess. It could be though. Among the major classical choral works, I definitely feel that Messiah could be the one, in English-Speaking country especially.
But it is not in Japan certainly. Performance of Beethoven's 9th is definitely more frequent.
  • You must log in or register to be able to reply to this message.