Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Handel's Messiah

I have always been enthralled with this composition. It is a classical piece that is very well done that glorifies God through scripture selections. So I decided to do a little research to find out some fun facts about this magnificent piece.

The work was conceived and first performed for secular theatre during Lent or Easter.

Although Messiah deals with the New Testament story of Christ's life a majority of the texts used to tell the story were selected from the Old Testament prophetic books of Isaiah, as well as Hagaii, Malachi, and others.

Although Handel called his oratorio simply Messiah (without the "The"), the work is also widely but incorrectly referred to as The Messiah.

Messiah is Charles Jennen's Biblical libretto set to music.

In just 24 days, Messiah was complete.

Right up to the day of the premiere, Messiah was troubled by production difficulties and last-minute rearrangements of the score, and the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Jonathan Swift, placed some pressure on the premiere and had it cancelled entirely for a period. He demanded that it be retitled A Sacred Oratorio and that revenue from the concert be promised to local hospitals for the mentally ill.

Handel conducted Messiah many times and, as was his custom, often altered the music to suit the needs of the singers and orchestra he had available to him for each performance. In consequence, no single version can be regarded as the "authentic" one.

In many parts of the world, it is the accepted practice for the audience to stand for the Hallelujah Chorus.
All of the above facts were found at


Jessica said...

I haven't gotten any comments for a while. Want to come over and see what I posted? :)

Under Southern Skies said...

Intersting. I'm not sure if I have ever listened to any of his compositions, other than the Hallelujah Chorus. Happy early new Year! Isn't hard to believe that 2007 is nearly past?!