When Mendelssohn wrote “Elijah” in 1846, he came to the task well prepared. As a conductor, Mendelssohn had led many successful performances of the major Handel oratorios. Conductor Donald Kendrick.
“This oratorio by Mendelssohn, ‘Elijah,’ is the second most popular oratorio in England, next to Handel’s ‘Messiah.’ ”
However, “Elijah” is not well known in California. In fact, Kendrick believes that Saturday’s performance will be the first time it’s been performed in Sacramento with an orchestra. It will also be a three dimensional, multi-level musical experience, starting with a children’s choir in the midst of the audience.
“And they will sing that lovely a capella setting, ‘Lift Thine Eyes.’ Also, I’ll have another choir in the galleries, and they will sing that angel chorus, ‘For he has given us angel’s charge over these,’ as though angels were singing from above.”
“Elijah” is music that you can’t really experience through a small radio. It’s bigger than anything you could fit in your car or in your kitchen, and to really appreciate it, you simply have to be in a big room when 200 singers cut loose with a crescendo, embodying the majestic power that Mendelssohn had in mind. The Sacramento Choral Society performs “Elijah” on Saturday night at the Sacramento Community Center Theatre, kicking off their 10th anniversary season.