New brass additions to Messiah

Darius Battiwalla adds a new brass band arrangement of the soprano aria 'How Beautiful Are the Feet' from Handel's 'Messiah', for future performances.

  The band has joined in a number of performances of the oratorio over the years

Darius Battiwalla, the Music Director of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus has written a new brass arrangement of the soprano aria 'How Beautiful Are the Feet' from Handel's 'Messiah', which he hopes will be performed later this year alongside Black Dyke Band.

It is one of three new arrangements he has made form the iconic work which it is hoped will be performed alongside the Queensbury band at a later date.


"Darius wrote the new arrangements for us during the lock-down"Chorus Chair Paul Henstridge told 4BR: "We're absolutely thrilled. It means that when we eventually perform the brass version with Black Dyke and sing two more choruses than would otherwise have been possible".

The Chorus were to have performed the brass version of 'Messiah' in April this year, but the concert had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Soprano singer Catrin Pryce-Jones was to have performed alongside the Chorus, so was delighted when Darius asked her to make a virtual recording of 'How Beautiful Are the Feet', along with members of Black Dyke, all performing from their own homes during lock-down.

"The new arrangement is very light and delicate, which is just right for this aria"said Chorus Administrator Anne Adams. "Catrin sings it beautifully, and the band accompany her with great sensitivity."


Speaking about the new additions, Black Dyke Director of Music, Prof Nicholas Childs told 4BR: "This is a significant addition to the arrangement that was made by Denis Wright and one that will add to the enjoyment of work when we do perform it with the Chorus in the future.

It would have been wonderful to have done that this year, but we can now look forward to performing it in 2022."


The recording has been uploaded to the Chorus website and can be enjoyed for free at https://sheffieldphil.org/how-beautiful-are-the-feet/

In addition to the new 'Messiah' arrangements, the Chorus also commissioned Darius to write some Christmas music for them to sing at their popular annual carol concert with Black Dyke in December, including a new brass arrangement of 'Resonet in Laudibus', a 16th century German carol.

The new arrangement is very light and delicate, which is just right for this ariaChorus Administrator Anne Adams.


If the December concert cannot go ahead it is hoped that the two musical organisations can use technology to record a virtual on-line event.

The brass version of 'Messiah' concert has been re-scheduled for Saturday 23rd April 2022 in Sheffield City Hall.

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