Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. Handel wrote Messiah for modest vocal and instrumental forces, with optional settings for many of the individual numbers. A near-complete version was issued on 78 rpm discs in 1928; since then the work has been recorded many times.
About Messiah (Handel) in brief
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. 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. A near-complete version was issued on 78 rpm discs in 1928; since then the work has been recorded many times. The text begins in Part I with prophecies by Isaiah and others, and moves to the annunciation to the shepherds, the only \”scene\” taken from the Gospels. In Part II, Handel concentrates on the Passion and ends with the \”Hallelujah\” chorus. In part III he covers the resurrection of the dead and Christ’s glorification in heaven. In 1735 Handel received the text for a new oratorsio named Saul or Israel in Egypt. He did not write the music for Saul until 1738, in preparation for his preparation for the 1738–39 theatrical season. All oratorios were performed to appreciative audiences at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford in mid-1733. The work was later performed at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket, where members of the royal family attended a glittering premiere on 6 May May 1738. All three oratorsios were played to appreciable audiences and performed to large and appreciative crowds in 1739.
The music was later recorded on 78-rpm discs and has been played many times since. It is now one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music. The score was written by Handel for a wealthy landowner with literary interests and musical interests, Charles Jennens, a wealthy musical librettist and musical director. The composer was a vigorous champion of Italian opera, which he had introduced to London in 1711 with Rinaldo. He subsequently wrote and presented more than 40 such operas in London’s theatres. He became a naturalised British subject in 1727. By 1741 his pre-eminence in British music was evident from the honours he had accumulated, including a pension from the court of King George II, the office of Composer of Musick for the Chapel Royal, and—most unusually for a living person—a statue erected in his honour in Vauxhall Gardens. His first venture into English oratorIO had been Esther, which was written and performed for a private patron in about 1718. By the early 1730s public taste for Italian opera was beginning to fade. The popular success of John Gay and Johann Christoph Pepusch’s The Beggar’s Opera had heralded a spate of English- language ballad-operas that mocked the pretensions of Italian Opera. In other efforts to update it, its orchestration was revised and amplified by Mozart.