Ex Cathedra are celebrating their 40th anniversary with a 3 year project to celebrate Birmingham's musical heritage. The first concert, on Saturday 5th April is a re-creation of the 1784 Messiah performance which launched the Birmingham Triennial Festivals. Ex Cathedra will be assembling a choir of some 100 singers accompanied by an orchestra of 60 provided by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
The Handel commemorative performances are important in the history of performance of Handel's music. The 1784 Birmingham performance used a choir of 100, the London centenary performances used a huge choir and this lead to the transformation of Handel's oratorios from relatively small scale works written for the theatre to large scale choral pieces. What's often forgotten about these early Handel commemorative performances is that the large choir was accompanied by an equally large orchestra.