About the Music: Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Coverdale Psalter, the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later.
In Christian theology, the Messiah is the saviour of humankind. The Messiah who is called Christ, is identified with the person of Jesus, known by his followers as the Christ or "Jesus Christ". Handel's Messiah has been described by the early-music scholar Richard Luckett as "a commentary on [Jesus Christ's] Nativity, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension", beginning with God's promises as spoken by the prophets and ending with Christ's glorification in heaven. In contrast with most of Handel's oratorios, the singers in Messiah do not assume dramatic roles; there is no single, dominant narrative voice; and very little use is made of quoted speech. In his libretto, Jennens's intention was not to dramatise the life and teachings of Jesus, but to acclaim the "Mystery of Godliness", using a compilation of extracts from the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible, and from the Psalms included in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
About the Venue:The cathedral was built and consecrated under the leadership of James Aloysius Griffin, fourth bishop of the diocese - but the first bishop to be based in Illinois' capital city of Springfield as the diocese was previously seated in Quincy, Illinois, then Alton, Illinois).
The cathedral complex is faced with Kasota limestone, also called "Mankato Kasota stone," a golden limestone quarried in Mankato, Minnesota. Like many cathedral complexes, it also contains working space for the bishop and staff. An elementary school building forms the southern component of the complex. The cathedral itself is consecrated to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, and is under the patronage of the Blessed Mother.
The cathedral is the second building in Springfield to be consecrated to the Immaculate Conception, the first being a Catholic church in use from 1858 until 1928. When the seat of the diocese moved to Springfield in 1923, it needed a larger structure to serve as cathedral. After completion of the cathedral, the nearby Lincoln-era church was de-consecrated and demolished. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is the seat of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. The cathedral, for which the cornerstone was laid on August 14, 1927, was dedicated on October 14, 1928. The cathedral complex is built in a modified Greek Revival architectural style.