DUBLIN'S HANDEL CONNECTION
Sir, - I am heartened by recent letters to The Irish Times suggesting a link be established between Dublin and Handel's birthplace, Halle. The letter from George Reeves concerning the erection of a suitable monument to mark the spot, rather than the statue of the "Apollo-like youth" which is now in the courtyard, reminds me of the beautiful bronze plaque which marked the site for many years. This was fixed under the office window of Kennans Ironworks until the firm closed.
The plaque was then taken away for safe storage. Surely, now that the Contemporary Music Centre has taken possession of the building, it would be appropriate that the plaque be returned to mark the site of Mr Neal's Musick Hall where, 260 years ago next Saturday, Handel presented his masterwork to the world for the first time.
When, in 1992, I begged and badgered Proinnsias ÓDuinn to mark the 250th anniversary in Fishamble Street at the location and time of the original performance, little did I guess that, 10 years on, this would still be a feature of Dublin's music calendar. It is a credit to Mr Ó'Duinn, as musical director, to the members of Our Lady's Choral Society, who generously give their time and talents each year, to the instrumentalists who in recent years have accompaned the event and to Temple Bar Properties, which has generously sponsored the annual occasion. The crowds who attend the event, like the citizens of Dublin in 1742, obviously appreciate and cherish Messiah as their own.
The 1742 performance gave the world one of the masterworks of European civilisation and established Dublin's place on the international music map. Let us continue to cherish this gift that has been passed on to us over the past 260 years by celebrating April 13th each year as "Messiah Day" and marking the Fishamble Street site with a worthy monument. - Yours, etc.
(Our Lady's Choral Society)