Even if you think of a cinematic pooch when the word Beethoven is mentioned you have probably heard Handel's Messiah -- "Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!!" -- blasting away at the local mall at Christmas time. This stunning piece illustrates Handel's mastery of the big choral numbers that were gaining in popularity with the rising eighteenth century bourgeois class. Handel was a master at composing operas, but these oratorios were easier to stage and perform and cheaper to attend for the new British middle class, who embraced Handel's music with great enthusiasm.