May is the month to celebrate George Frideric Handel, whose annual concert and performance of Messiah took place in May. Below Rosemary talks about a discovery she made about these famous concerts in our archive.
The Foundling Hospital had many musical patrons and hosted multiple musical performances to help raise funds for the institution.
One prominent patron was George Frideric Handel who composed several works specifically for the Foundling Hospital, including the Foundling Hospital Anthem. One of the first public performances of his most famous composition, Messiah, was as part of a benefit concert for the Coram Trust. It was so popular it was performed every year from 1742 to the 1770s in the Foundling Hospital chapel, with Handel himself conducting them until his death in 1759.
Here is a note written by one of the Hospital’s governors in 1772 about the upcoming performance:
“We hear that the Oratorio this year at the Foundling Hospital will be superior to any of the former ones having the most celebrated singers accompanied by the most capital performer.”