Although its structure resembles that of opera, it is not in dramatic form; there are no impersonations of characters and no direct speech. [46] The declamatory opening chorus "Behold the Lamb of God", in fugal form, is followed by the alto solo "He was despised" in E flat major, the longest single item in the oratorio, in which some phrases are sung unaccompanied to emphasise Christ's abandonment. Part II covers Christ's passion and his death, his resurrection and ascension, the first spreading of the gospel through the world, and a definitive statement of God's glory summarised in the "Hallelujah". He sought and was given permission from St Patrick's and Christ Church cathedrals to use their choirs for this occasion. Results will be posted on this page within a week of the last audition. [51] The first performance was overshadowed by views expressed in the press that the work's subject matter was too exalted to be performed in a theatre, particularly by secular singer-actresses such as Cibber and Clive. This inscription, taken with the speed of composition, has encouraged belief in the apocryphal story that Handel wrote the music in a fervour of divine inspiration in which, as he wrote the "Hallelujah" chorus, "he saw all heaven before him". This applies not only to the choice of versions, but to every aspect of baroque practice, and of course there are often no final answers.[103]. In Part II, Handel concentrates on the Passion and ends with the "Hallelujah" chorus. [129], The reflective soprano solo "If God be for us" (originally written for alto) quotes Luther's chorale Aus tiefer Not. [46] Luckett records Burney's description of this number as "the highest idea of excellence in pathetic expression of any English song". Indeed if they are not prepared to grapple with the problems presented by the score they ought not to conduct it. "[91] In 1902, the musicologist Ebenezer Prout produced a new edition of the score, working from Handel's original manuscripts rather than from corrupt printed versions with errors accumulated from one edition to another. [83], In the 1860s and 1870s ever larger forces were assembled. [52] At Jennens's request, Handel made several changes in the music for the 1745 revival: "Their sound is gone out" became a choral piece, the soprano song "Rejoice greatly" was recomposed in shortened form, and the transpositions for Cibber's voice were restored to their original soprano range. [44] Seven hundred people attended the premiere on 13 April. [86] Shaw argued, largely unheeded, that "the composer may be spared from his friends, and the function of writing or selecting 'additional orchestral accompaniments' exercised with due discretion. [145][146] In 1973 David Willcocks conducted a set for HMV in which all the soprano arias were sung in unison by the boys of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge,[147] and in 1974, for DG, Mackerras conducted a set of Mozart's reorchestrated version, sung in German.[90]. [122], The second Part begins in G minor, a key which, in Hogwood's phrase, brings a mood of "tragic presentiment" to the long sequence of Passion numbers which follows. [31][114] In this initial appearance the trumpets lack the expected drum accompaniment, "a deliberate withholding of effect, leaving something in reserve for Parts II and III" according to Luckett. [116] In the absence of a predominant key, other integrating elements have been proposed. [113] In "Glory to God", Handel marked the entry of the trumpets as da lontano e un poco piano, meaning "quietly, from afar"; his original intention had been to place the brass offstage (in disparte) at this point, to highlight the effect of distance. The latter employs a chorus of 24 singers and an orchestra of 31 players; Handel is known to have used a chorus of 19 and an orchestra of 37. [n 7] The musical scholar Moritz Hauptmann described the Mozart additions as "stucco ornaments on a marble temple". In an attempt to deflect such sensibilities, in London Handel had avoided the name Messiah and presented the work as the "New Sacred Oratorio". In addition to Mozart's well-known reorchestration, arrangements for larger orchestral forces exist by Goossens and Andrew Davis; both have been recorded at least once, on the RCA[149] and Chandos[150] labels respectively. Messiah (HWV 56)[1][n 1] 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. At the Handel Festival held in 1922 in Handel's native town, Halle, his choral works were given by a choir of 163 and an orchestra of 64. For example, the musicologist Rudolf Steglich has suggested that Handel used the device of the "ascending fourth" as a unifying motif; this device most noticeably occurs in the first two notes of "I know that my Redeemer liveth" and on numerous other occasions. [8] His first venture into English oratorio had been Esther, which was written and performed for a private patron in about 1718. [66] At the same time, performances in Britain and the United States moved away from Handel's performance practice with increasingly grandiose renditions.

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