Händel Messiah, HWV 56

Messiah, HWV 56, is an oratorio written by Handel (with scriptural text compiled by C. Jennens) in 1741 and premiered the following year in Dublin. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, becoming one of the best-known choral works in Western music. Though Handel's reputation in England had been established through his compositions of Italian opera, he turned to the oratorio in the 1730s, in response to changes in public taste. Handel wrote Messiah for modest vocal and instrumental forces, with optional settings for many of the individual numbers. In the years after his death, the work was adapted for performance on a much larger scale, with giant orchestras and choirs. In recent times the trend has been towards reproducing a greater fidelity to Handel's original intentions, although "big Messiah" productions continue to be mounted. The Hallelujah chorus is often performed out of context, especially around Christmas and Easter. The piece has such emotional power that to this day in the English speaking world audiences rise as if in prayer as soon as the opening notes are struck.
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Sheet Music

Recordings

Orchestra Gli Armonici, 100908 Concerto della Madonna dei fiori, 18 G.F.Haendel, The Messiah, Hallelujah

Samples

Messiah, HWV 56

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