A. C. McCLURG AND COMPANY
By A. C. McClurg and Co.
The "Standard Oratorios" is intended as a companion to the "Standard Operas;" and with this purpose in view
the compiler has followed as closely as possible the same method in the arrangement and presentation of his
scheme. The main object has been to present to the reader a comprehensive sketch of the oratorios which may
be called "standard," outlining the sacred stories which they tell, and briefly indicating and sketching their
principal numbers, accompanied in each case with a short biography of the composer and such historical
matter connected with the various works as is of special interest. The compiler has also included in his scheme
a sketch of the origin and development of the Oratorio as illustrated in its three principal evolutionary stages,
together with descriptions of several works which are not oratorios in the strict sense, but at the same time are
sacred compositions written upon a large scale and usually performed by oratorio societies, such as Bach's
"Passion Music" and "Magnificat," Berlioz's, Mozart's, and Verdi's Requiems, Mendelssohn's "Hymn of
Praise," Handel's "Dettingen Te Deum," Schumann's "Paradise and the Peri," and Rubinstein's "Tower of
As in the case of the "Standard Operas," the work has been prepared for the general public rather than for
musicians, and as far as practicable, technical terms have been avoided. Description, not criticism, has been
the purpose of the volume, and the various works are described as fully as the necessarily brief space allotted
to each would allow. The utmost pains have been taken to secure historical and chronological accuracy,
inasmuch as these details are nearly always matters of controversy. The favor which has been so generously
accorded to the "Standard Operas" leads the compiler to believe that the "Standard Oratorios" will also be
welcomed by those who enjoy the sacred music of the great masters, and that it will prove a valuable addition
to other works of musical reference.
THE ORATORIO 9
Christmas Oratorio 33
The Saint Matthew Passion 39
The Magnificat in D 48
Israel in Egypt 117
The Messiah 140
Judas Maccab\u00e6us 149
The Dettingen Te Deum 155
St. Paul 208
Hymn of Praise 213
The oratorio in its modern form is a musical setting of a sacred story or text in a style more or less dramatic.
Its various parts are assigned to the four solo voices and to single or double chorus, with accompaniment of
full orchestra, sometimes amplified by the organ. Like the opera, it has its recitative, linking together and
leading up to the various numbers. The origin of the word is to be found in the "oratory," or place of prayer,
where these compositions were first performed. Crescimbeni, one of the earliest musical writers, says: "The
oratorio had its origin from San Filippo Neri, who, in his chapel, after sermons and other devotions, in order
to allure young people to pious offices, and to detain them from earthly pleasures, had hymns, psalms, and
such like prayers sung by one or more voices." In tracing its evolutionary stages, its root will be found in the
moralities, mysteries, and miracle-plays of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, which were instituted for
the purpose of impressing Biblical events in symbolical form upon the early converts to the Christian Church.
These representations were entirely dramatic in character, and their subjects, though always sacred, were often
grotesquely treated, and sometimes verged on buffoonery. Among the actors, God, Christ, Satan, Mary, and
the angels nearly always appeared; later, the various virtues and vices were personified. The representations
were usually given in the streets or in fields, and sometimes on the water. The highest dignitaries of the
Church did not disdain to act in these plays, nor did their promoters hesitate at times to reduce the exhibition
to the level of a Punch-and-Judy show by the introduction of puppets cleverly manipulated. The earliest of
these miracle-plays in England were performed by the various London Companies. The Tanners, for instance,
produced the Fall of Lucifer. The Drapers played the Creation, in which Adam and Eve appeared in their
original costume,--apparently without giving offence. The Water-Drawers naturally chose the Deluge. In the
scene describing the embarkation of Noah's family, the patriarch has a great deal of trouble with his wife, who
is determined not to go aboard. She declares that if her worldly friends are left behind, she will stay and
drown with them, and he can
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