Handel: Messiah

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 24, 1991 - Music - 127 pages
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This new guide to Handel's most celebrated work traces the course of Messiah from Handel's initial musical response to the libretto, through the oratorio's turbulent first years to its eventual popularity with the Foundling Hospital performances. Different chapters consider the varying reception the work received in Dublin and London, the uneasy relationship between the composer and his librettist Charles Jennens and the many changes Messiah underwent through the varying needs and capacities of Handel's performers. As well as tracing the history of the work's development, the book addresses musical and technical issues such as Messiah's place in the oratorio genre, Handel's treatment of structural design, tonal relationships and English word-setting. An edited libretto elucidates the variants between the text that Handel set and the texts of the early printed word-books. Donald Burrows brings many new insights to this fascinating account of one of the favourite works of the concert hall.
 

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Contents

The historical background
1
passion and oratorio
2
Esther Handels first English oratorio
4
from Esther to Messiah
5
From composition to first performance
8
The librettist
9
The collaboration
10
from London to Dublin
12
Messiah in other hands
47
The nineteenth century
48
Additional accompaniments
49
To the present day
51
Design
55
structure and content
57
some general considerations
60
Part Two scene I
63

The Dublin performances
15
The music and soloists in Handels Dublin performances
22
The first London performances
23
The music of Handels 1743 performances
30
Revival and revision 17431759
32
The 1745 revival
34
Covent Garden and the Foundling Hospital
36
Handels last years
39
aesthetic choice or practical necessity?
40
The early revisions
41
Handels later revisions and the 1750 version
42
Versions for modern performances
44
Individual movements
68
Arias
69
Choruses
71
The orchestras contribution
73
Handels wordsetting
75
The libretto of Messiah
83
Messiah sources
103
Notes
109
Bibliography
121
Index
123
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