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Published byJett Oaks Modified over 8 years ago
Handel wrote his oratorio “Messiah” in 1741, after his stroke and London’s turn against his operas. He wrote it in a miraculous 24 days; it is claimed that he was inspired of God in writing the music. The libretto (lyrics) were taken out of the Bible, selected and arranged by a friend, Charles Jennings. “Messiah” Background
“Messiah” includes an overture, 1 instrumental interlude, 15 recitatives, 16 arias, 20 choruses and 1 duet. Unlike operas (and most oratorios) there are no characters in the oratorio; every word is quoted scripture from the Bible. Early Hebrews: Messiah → a great king who would save them from their enemies Christians: Messiah → Jesus Christ Handel’s “Messiah” includes songs about prophesies, the birth, teachings, suffering and death, resurrection, and triumphant return of the Messiah (Jesus Christ). “Messiah” Subject Matter
Overture : Orchestra only, before story starts. Recitative : Soloist(s) speak-singing, tells the story (usually followed by) Aria : Soloist, expresses the “affect” or emotion of character in their situation Chorus : Whole choir sings Song Types in Oratorios & Operas
Handel sometimes used a technique in his music called word-painting. It means dramatizing the meaning of the words of a song by the way he wrote the music. Examples: Making the soloist sing high notes when the words talk about high things and vice versa. Making the melody jagged when the words talk about “crooked” and smooth when they talk about “straight.” Having the whole choir sing when the words express what a group is thinking. Word-Painting in Baroque Music
Pastoral Symphony : Instrumental interlude that sets the scene of the countryside. Recitative: “There were shepherds abiding in the field” Narrates the story of the angels appearing to the shepherds. Chorus: “Glory to God in the highest” The choir acts the part of the angels singing their song. Pastoral Symphony, “There Were Shepherds,” “Glory to God”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJjNpMEbjjw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJjNpMEbjjw What is the tempo and affect of the Pastoral Symphony? Which voice type is singing the recitative? Describe the action related in it. How does Handel use word-painting in the chorus “Glory to God”? What is the affect portrayed?
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