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Octavo Singers

by The Staff on May 1, 2013


This Sunday afternoon, Schenectady’s Octavo Singers will perform a majestic, infrequently performed work from the choral repertoire: George Frideric Handel’s Judas Maccabeus.

Like everyone else, a composer must sing for his or her supper—or at least flatter one’s betters. In this case, Handel (a German-born Brit, pictured at left) is said to have composed this oratorio as a tribute to the Duke of Cumberland to celebrate the duke’s decisive victory over those pesky Scots in 1746. History time: The subject of the oratorio, Judas Maccabeus, led a successful revolt of the Jewish people against a Greco-Macedonian empire around 160 B.C.E. In a review of a 2011 revival of the work, The New York Times praised its “soaring soprano lines that sound like a Renaissance motet,” and its closing section’s “grandeur and ebullience.”

Octavo Singers’ musical director Curtis W. Funk promises that the two-and-a-half-hour work is “filled with music just as captivating, if not more so, than Messiah.”

You’ve probably heard (or heard of) Handel’s Messiah.

Octavo Singers will perform Judas Maccabeus on Sunday (May 5) at 3 PM at the First Reformed Church of Schenectady (8 N. Church St., Schenectady). Tickets are $20, $15 seniors and $10 students. For more info, call 253-7088.