Many people will think that the very first Messiah doesn’t sound “right” as the oratorio has since come to be associated with gigantic performances. In the British Victorian era in particular Messiah could not get too big. In June 1859 nearly 82,000 people would have listened to 2,765 choir singers and 460 musicians performing Messiah. But as George Bernard Shaw wrote in 1891, As he wrote: ”IF I were a member of the House of Commons,” George Bernard Shaw wrote, ”I would propose a law making it a capital offense to perform an oratorio by Handel with more than 80 performers in the chorus and orchestra.”
Music: Dunedin Consort ‘Handel’s Original Dublin Version 1742’