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Messiah (Handel)

Messiah (HWV 56)[1] is an English-language oratorio

composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a
scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the
King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms
included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was rst
performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its
London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially
modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most
frequently performed choral works in Western music.[n 1]
Handels reputation in England, where he had lived since
1712, had been established through his compositions of
Italian opera. He turned to English oratorio in the 1730s
in response to changes in public taste; Messiah was his
sixth work in this genre. Although its structure resembles
that of opera, it is not in dramatic form; there are no impersonations of characters and no direct speech. Instead,
Jennenss text is an extended reection on Jesus Christ
as Messiah. 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 Christs glorication in
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 other eorts to update it, its
orchestration was revised and amplied by (among others) Mozart. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the
trend has been towards reproducing a greater delity to The statue erected in Handels honour, in Vauxhall Gardens,
Handels original intentions, although big Messiah" pro- London
ductions continue to be mounted. A near-complete version was issued on 78 rpm discs in 1928; since then the
work has been recorded many times.
By 1741, Handels pre-eminence in British music was evident from the honours he had accumulated, including
a pension from the court of King George II, the oce
1 Background
of Composer of Musick for the Chapel Royal, and
most unusually for a living persona statue erected in
George Frideric Handel (German: Georg Friedrich Hn- his honour in Vauxhall Gardens.[4] Within a large and
del; pronounced [hndl]) (born in Halle, Germany, varied musical output, Handel was a vigorous champion
1685) became a prominent German-British Baroque of Italian opera, which he had introduced to London in
composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and 1711 with Rinaldo. He had subsequently written and preorgan concertos. Handel received critical musical train- sented more than 40 such operas in Londons theatres.[5]
ing in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in Lon- By the early 1730s public taste was beginning to change.
don in 1712. He became a naturalised British subject in The popular success of John Gay and Johann Christoph
Pepusch's The Beggars Opera (rst performed in 1728)


had heralded a spate of English-language ballad-operas

that mocked the pretensions of Italian opera.[6] With boxoce receipts falling, Handels productions were increasingly reliant on private subsidies from the nobility. Such
funding became harder to obtain after the launch in 1730
of the "Opera of the Nobility", a rival company to his
own. Handel overcame this challenge, but he spent large
sums of his own money to do so.[7]
Future prospects for Italian opera in London declined
during the 1730s. Handel remained committed to the
genre, but began to introduce English-language oratorios as occasional alternatives to his staged works.[8] As a
young man in Rome in 170708, he had written two Italian oratorios at a time when opera performances in the
city were temporarily forbidden under papal decree.[9]
His rst venture into English oratorio had been Esther,
which was written and performed for a private patron in
about 1718.[8] In 1732 Handel brought a revised and expanded version of Esther to the Kings Theatre, Haymarket, where members of the royal family attended a glittering premiere on 6 May. Its success encouraged Handel
to write two more oratorios (Deborah and Athalia). All
three oratorios were performed to large and appreciative
audiences at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford in mid1733. Undergraduates reportedly sold their furniture to
raise the money for the ve-shilling tickets.[10]

Richard Luckett as a commentary on [Jesus Christs]

Nativity, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension, beginning with Gods promises as spoken by the prophets and
ending with Christs glorication in heaven.[15] In contrast
with most of Handels oratorios, the singers in Messiah
do not assume dramatic roles; there is no single, dominant narrative voice; and very little use is made of quoted
speech. In his libretto, Jennenss intention was not to
dramatise the life and teachings of Jesus, but to acclaim
the Mystery of Godliness,[16] using a compilation of extracts from the Authorized (King James) Version of the
Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of
Common Prayer (which uses the original translations of
Miles Coverdale rather than the later version of the King
James Bibles translators).[17]
The three-part structure of the work approximates to that
of Handels three-act operas, with the parts subdivided
by Jennens into "scenes". Each scene is a collection of
individual numbers or movements which take the form
of recitatives, arias and choruses.[16] There are two instrumental numbers, the opening Sinfony[n 2] in the style of a
French overture, and the pastoral Pifa, often called the
pastoral symphony, at the mid-point of Part I.[19]
In Part I, the Messiahs coming and the virgin birth
are predicted by the Old Testament prophets. The
annunciation to the shepherds of the birth of the Christ
is represented in the words of Lukes gospel. Part II covers Christs passion and his death, his resurrection and
ascension, the rst spreading of the gospel through the
world, and a denitive statement of Gods glory summarised in the Hallelujah. Part III begins with the
promise of redemption, followed by a prediction of the
day of judgment and the "general resurrection", ending with the nal victory over sin and death and the acclamation of Christ.[20] According to the musicologist
Donald Burrows, much of the text is so allusive as to be
largely incomprehensible to those ignorant of the biblical accounts.[16] For the benet of his audiences Jennens
printed and issued a pamphlet explaining the reasons for
his choices of scriptural selections.[21]

In 1735 Handel received the text for a new oratorio

named Saul from its librettist Charles Jennens, a wealthy
landowner with musical and literary interests.[11] Because
Handels main creative concern was still with opera, he
did not write the music for Saul until 1738, in preparation for his 173839 theatrical season. The work, after
opening at the Kings Theatre in January 1739 to a warm
reception, was quickly followed by the less successful oratorio Israel in Egypt (which may also have come from
Jennens).[12] Although Handel continued to write and
present operas, the trend towards English-language productions became irresistible as the decade ended. After
three performances of his last Italian opera Deidamia in
January and February 1741, he abandoned the genre.[13]
In July 1741 Jennens sent him a new libretto for an oratorio. In a letter dated 10 July to his friend Edward
Holdsworth, Jennens wrote: I hope [Handel] will lay out 3
his whole Genius & Skill upon it, that the Composition
may excell all his former Compositions, as the Subject
excells every other subject. The Subject is Messiah.[14] 3.1


Main article: Structure of Handels Messiah

In the Christian tradition the gure of the Messiah or
redeemer is identied with the person of Jesus, known
by his followers as the Christ or Jesus Christ. Handels
Messiah has been described by the early-music scholar

Writing history

Charles Jennens was born around 1700, into a prosperous

landowning family whose lands and properties in Warwickshire and Leicestershire he eventually inherited.[22]
His religious and political viewshe opposed the Act of
Settlement of 1701 which secured the accession to the
British throne for the House of Hanoverprevented him
from receiving his degree from Balliol College, Oxford,
or from pursuing any form of public career. His familys
wealth enabled him to live a life of leisure while devoting
himself to his literary and musical interests.[23] Although
the musicologist Watkins Shaw dismisses Jennens as a



up to produce the nished work on 14 September. The
autograph scores 259 pages show some signs of haste
such as blots, scratchings-out, unlled bars and other
uncorrected errors, but according to the music scholar
Richard Luckett the number of errors is remarkably small
in a document of this length.[25]

A portrait of Charles Jennens from around 1740


conceited gure of no special ability, Donald Burrows

has written: of Jennenss musical literacy there can be
no doubt. He was certainly devoted to Handels music,
having helped to nance the publication of every Handel score since Rodelinda in 1725.[5] By 1741, after their
collaboration on Saul, a warm friendship had developed
between the two, and Handel was a frequent visitor to the
Jennens family estate at Gopsall.[22]
Jennenss letter to Holdsworth of 10 July 1741, in which
he rst mentions Messiah, suggests that the text was a recent work, probably assembled earlier that summer. As
a devout Anglican and believer in scriptural authority,
part of Jennenss intention was to challenge advocates of
Deism, who rejected the doctrine of divine intervention
in human aairs.[15] Shaw describes the text as a meditation of our Lord as Messiah in Christian thought and belief, and despite his reservations on Jennenss character,
concedes that the nished wordbook amounts to little
short of a work of genius.[24] There is no evidence that
Handel played any active role in the selection or preparation of the text, such as he did in the case of Saul; it
seems, rather, that he saw no need to make any signicant amendment to Jennenss work.[14]



The music for Messiah was completed in 24 days of swift

composition. Having received Jennenss text some time
after 10 July 1741, Handel began work on it on 22 August. His records show that he had completed Part I in
outline by 28 August, Part II by 6 September and Part
III by 12 September, followed by two days of lling

Title page of Handels autograph score

At the end of his manuscript Handel wrote the letters

SDGSoli Deo Gloria, To God alone the glory. This
inscription, taken with the speed of composition, has encouraged belief in the apocryphal story that Handel wrote
the music in a fervour of divine inspiration in which, as
he wrote the Hallelujah chorus, he saw all heaven before him.[25] Burrows points out that many of Handels
operas, of comparable length and structure to Messiah,
were composed within similar timescales between theatrical seasons. The eort of writing so much music in so
short a time was not unusual for Handel and his contemporaries; Handel commenced his next oratorio, Samson,
within a week of nishing Messiah, and completed his
draft of this new work in a month.[26][27] In accordance
with his frequent practice when writing new works, Handel adapted existing compositions for use in Messiah, in
this case drawing on two recently completed Italian duets
and one written twenty years previously. Thus, Se tu non
lasci amore from 1722 became the basis of O Death,
where is thy sting?"; His yoke is easy and And he
shall purify were drawn from Quel or che alla'ride (July
1741), Unto us a child is born and All we like sheep
from N, di voi non vo' darmi (July 1741).[28][29] Handels instrumentation in the score is often imprecise, again
in line with contemporary convention, where the use of
certain instruments and combinations was assumed and
did not need to be written down by the composer; later
copyists would ll in the details.[30]
Before the rst performance Handel made numerous revisions to his manuscript score, in part to match the forces
available for the 1742 Dublin premiere; it is probable
that his work was not performed as originally conceived
in his lifetime.[31] Between 1742 and 1754 he continued
to revise and recompose individual movements, some-


times to suit the requirements of particular singers.[32]

The rst published score of Messiah was issued in 1767,
eight years after Handels death, though this was based on
relatively early manuscripts and included none of Handels later revisions.[33]


Premiere and early performances

Dublin, 1742

occasion.[37][38] These forces amounted to 16 men and

16 boy choristers; several of the men were allocated
solo parts. The women soloists were Christina Maria
Avoglio, who had sung the main soprano roles in the
two subscription series, and Susannah Cibber, an established stage actress and contralto who had sung in the second series.[38][39] To accommodate Cibbers vocal range,
the recitative Then shall the eyes of the blind and the
aria He shall feed his ock were transposed down to
F major.[31][40] The performance, also in the Fishamble Street hall, was originally announced for 12 April,
but was deferred for a day at the request of persons
of Distinction.[34] The orchestra in Dublin comprised
strings, two trumpets, and timpani; the number of players is unknown. Handel had his own organ shipped to
Ireland for the performances; a harpsichord was probably also used.[41]

The three charities that were to benet were prisoners debt relief, the Mercers Hospital, and the Charitable Inrmary.[38] In its report on a public rehearsal, the
Dublin News-Letter described the oratorio as "... far surpass[ing] anything of that Nature which has been performed in this or any other Kingdom.[42] Seven hundred people attended the premiere on 13 April.[43] So
that the largest possible audience could be admitted to
the concert, gentlemen were requested to remove their
swords, and ladies were asked not to wear hoops in their
dresses.[38] The performance earned unanimous praise
from the assembled press: Words are wanting to express the exquisite delight it aorded to the admiring
and crouded Audience.[43] A Dublin clergyman, Rev.
Delaney, was so overcome by Susanna Cibbers renderThe Great Music Hall in Fishamble Street, Dublin, where Mes- ing of He was despised that reportedly he leapt to
siah was rst performed
his feet and cried: Woman, for this be all thy sins
forgiven thee!"[44][n 3] The takings amounted to around
Handels decision to give a season of concerts in Dublin 400, providing about 127 to each of the three nomiin the winter of 174142 arose from an invitation from nated charities and securing the release of 142 indebted
the Duke of Devonshire, then serving as Lord Lieu- prisoners.[35][43]
tenant of Ireland.[34] A violinist friend of Handels,
Matthew Dubourg, was in Dublin as the Lord Lieutenants Handel remained in Dublin for four months after the prebandmaster; he would look after the tours orchestral miere. He organised a second performance of Messiah on
requirements.[35] Whether Handel originally intended to 3 June, which was announced as the last Performance of
perform Messiah in Dublin is uncertain; he did not in- Mr Handels during his Stay in this Kingdom. In this
form Jennens of any such plan, for the latter wrote to second Messiah, which was for Handels private nanHoldsworth on 2 December 1741: "... it was some morti- cial benet, Cibber reprised her role from the rst percation to me to hear that instead of performing Messiah formance, though[46]Avoglio may have been replaced by
details of other performers are not
here he has gone into Ireland with it.[36] After arriving a Mrs Maclaine;
in Dublin on 18 November 1741, Handel arranged a subscription series of six concerts, to be held between December 1741 and February 1742 at the Great Music Hall,
4.2 London, 174359
Fishamble Street. These concerts were so popular that a
second series was quickly arranged; Messiah gured in The warm reception accorded to Messiah in Dublin was
neither series.[34]
not repeated in London when Handel introduced the work
In early March Handel began discussions with the appropriate committees for a charity concert, to be given
in April, at which he intended to present Messiah. He
sought and was given permission from St Patricks and
Christ Church cathedrals to use their choirs for this

at the Covent Garden theatre on 23 March 1743. Avoglio

and Cibber were again the chief soloists; they were joined
by the tenor John Beard, a veteran of Handels operas, the
bass Thomas Rheinhold and two other sopranos, Kitty
Clive and Miss Edwards.[48] The rst performance was

overshadowed by views expressed in the press that the
works subject matter was too exalted to be performed
in a theatre, particularly by secular singer-actresses such
as Cibber and Clive. In an attempt to deect such sensibilities, in London Handel had avoided the name Messiah
and presented the work as the New Sacred Oratorio.[49]
As was his custom, Handel rearranged the music to suit
his singers. He wrote a new setting of And lo, the angel of the Lord for Clive, never used subsequently. He
added a tenor song for Beard: Their sound is gone out,
which had appeared in Jennenss original libretto but had
not been in the Dublin performances.[50]
The custom of standing for the Hallelujah chorus originates from a belief that, at the London premiere, King
George II did so, which would have obliged all to stand.
There is no convincing evidence that the king was present,
or that he attended any subsequent performance of Messiah; the rst reference to the practice of standing appears
in a letter dated 1756.[51][52][53]

music: Giulia Frasi and Caterina Galli. In the following year these were joined by the male alto Gaetano
Guadagni, for whom Handel composed new versions
of But who may abide and Thou art gone up on
high. The year 1750 also saw the institution of the
annual charity performances of Messiah at Londons
Foundling Hospital, which continued until Handels death
and beyond.[56] The 1754 performance at the hospital is
the rst for which full details of the orchestral and vocal forces survive. The orchestra included fteen violins, ve violas, three cellos, two double-basses, four bassoons, four oboes, two trumpets, two horns and drums. In
the chorus of nineteen were six trebles from the Chapel
Royal; the remainder, all men, were altos, tenors and
basses. Frasi, Galli and Beard led the ve soloists, who
were required to assist the chorus.[57][n 4] For this performance the transposed Guadagni arias were restored to
the soprano voice.[59] By 1754 Handel was severely aficted by the onset of blindness, and in 1755 he turned
over the direction of the Messiah hospital performance to
his pupil, J.C. Smith.[60] He apparently resumed his duties
in 1757 and may have continued thereafter.[61] The nal
performance of the work at which Handel was present
was at Covent Garden on 6 April 1759, eight days before
his death.[60]

5 Later performance history

5.1 18th century

The chapel of the Londons Foundling Hospital, the venue for

regular charity performances of Messiah from 1750

Londons initially cool reception of Messiah led Handel

to reduce the seasons planned six performances to three,
and not to present the work at all in 1744to the considerable annoyance of Jennens, whose relations with the
composer temporarily soured.[49] At Jennenss request,
Handel made several changes in the music for the 1745
revival: Their sound is gone out became a choral piece,
the soprano song Rejoice greatly was recomposed in
shortened form, and the transpositions for Cibbers voice
were restored to their original soprano range.[32] Jennens
wrote to Holdsworth on 30 August 1745: "[Handel] has
made a ne Entertainment of it, though not near so good
as he might & ought to have done. I have with great difculty made him correct some of the grosser faults in
the composition ... Handel directed two performances at
Covent Garden in 1745, on 9 and 11 April,[54] and then
set the work aside for four years.[55]
The 1749 revival at Covent Garden, under the proper title of Messiah, saw the appearance of two female soloists
who were henceforth closely associated with Handels

During the 1750s Messiah was performed increasingly at

festivals and cathedrals throughout the country.[62] Individual choruses and arias were occasionally extracted for
use as anthems or motets in church services, or as concert pieces, a practice that grew in the 19th century and
has continued ever since.[63] After Handels death, performances were given in Florence (1768), New York (excerpts, 1770), Hamburg (1772), and Mannheim (1777),
where Mozart rst heard it.[64] For the performances in
Handels lifetime and in the decades following his death,
the musical forces used in the Foundling Hospital performance of 1754 are thought by Burrows to be typical.[65]
A fashion for large-scale performances began in 1784, in
a series of commemorative concerts of Handels music
given in Westminster Abbey under the patronage of King
George III. A plaque on the Abbey wall records that The
Band consisting of DXXV [525] vocal & instrumental
performers was conducted by Joah Bates Esqr.[66] In a
1955 article, Sir Malcolm Sargent, a proponent of largescale performances, wrote, Mr Bates ... had known Handel well and respected his wishes. The orchestra employed was two hundred and fty strong, including twelve
horns, twelve trumpets, six trombones and three pairs of
timpani (some made especially large).[67] In 1787 further performances were given at the Abbey; advertisements promised, The Band will consist of Eight Hundred


audiences, incorporated into editions of the score by editors including Ebenezer Prout.[72]

5.2 19th century

The Handel Festival at The Crystal Palace, 1857

1787 advertisement for Messiah at Westminster Abbey with 800


In continental Europe, performances of Messiah were departing from Handels practices in a dierent way: his
score was being drastically reorchestrated to suit contemporary tastes. In 1786, Johann Adam Hiller presented Messiah with updated scoring in Berlin Cathedral.[69] In 1788 Hiller presented a performance of his
revision with a choir of 259 and an orchestra of 87
strings, 10 bassoons, 11 oboes, 8 utes, 8 horns, 4 clarinets, 4 trombones, 7 trumpets, timpani, harpsichord and
organ.[69] In 1789, Mozart was commissioned by Baron
Gottfried van Swieten and the Gesellschaft der Associierten to re-orchestrate several works by Handel, including Messiah.[70][n 5] Writing for a small-scale performance, he eliminated the organ continuo, added parts for
utes, clarinets, trombones and horns, recomposed some
passages and rearranged others. The performance took
place on 6 March 1789 in the rooms of Count Johann
Esterhzy, with four soloists and a choir of 12.[72][n 6]
Mozarts arrangement, with minor amendments from
Hiller, was published in 1803, after his death.[n 7] The
musical scholar Moritz Hauptmann described the Mozart
additions as "stucco ornaments on a marble temple.[77]
Elements of this version later became familiar to British

In the 19th century, approaches to Handel in German and

English-speaking countries diverged further. In Leipzig
in 1856, the musicologist Friedrich Chrysander and the
literary historian Georg Gottfried Gervinus founded the
Deutsche Hndel-Gesellschaft with the aim of publishing authentic editions of all Handels works.[64] At the
same time, performances in Britain and the United States
moved away from Handels performance practice with increasingly grandiose renditions. Messiah was presented
in New York in 1853 with a chorus of 300 and in Boston
in 1865 with more than 600. [78][79] In Britain a Great
Handel Festival was held at the Crystal Palace in 1857,
performing Messiah and other Handel oratorios, with a
chorus of 2,000 singers and an orchestra of 500.[80]
In the 1860s and 1870s ever larger forces were assembled.
Bernard Shaw, in his role as a music critic, commented,
The stale wonderment which the great chorus never fails
to elicit has already been exhausted";[81] he later wrote,
Why, instead of wasting huge sums on the multitudinous
dullness of a Handel Festival does not somebody set up
a thoroughly rehearsed and exhaustively studied performance of the Messiah in St Jamess Hall with a chorus of
twenty capable artists? Most of us would be glad to hear
the work seriously performed once before we die.[82]
The employment of huge forces necessitated considerable
augmentation of the orchestral parts. Many admirers of
Handel believed that the composer would have made such
additions, had the appropriate instruments been available
in his day.[83] Shaw argued, largely unheeded, that the
composer may be spared from his friends, and the function of writing or selecting 'additional orchestral accompaniments exercised with due discretion.[84]
One reason for the popularity of huge-scale performances
was the ubiquity of amateur choral societies. The conductor Sir Thomas Beecham wrote that for 200 years
the chorus was the national medium of musical utter-


20th century and beyond

ance in Britain. However, after the heyday of Victorian ful reproduction of Handels original score would not be
choral societies, he noted a rapid and violent reaction practical:
against monumental performances ... an appeal from several quarters that Handel should be played and heard as
[T]he attempts made from time to time by
in the days between 1700 and 1750.[85] At the end of
our musical societies to give Handels music as
the century, Sir Frederick Bridge and T. W. Bourne piohe meant it to be given must, however earnest
neered revivals of Messiah in Handels orchestration, and
the intention, and however careful the prepaBournes work was the basis for further scholarly versions
ration, be foredoomed to failure from the very
in the early 20th century.[86]
nature of the case. With our large choral societies, additional accompaniments of some kind
are a necessity for an eective performance;
and the question is not so much whether, as
5.3 20th century and beyond
how they are to be written.[75]
Prout continued the practice of adding utes, clarinets
and trombones to Handels orchestration, but he restored
Handels high trumpet parts, which Mozart had omitted (evidently because playing them was a lost art by
1789).[75] There was little dissent from Prouts approach,
and when Chrysanders scholarly edition was published
in the same year, it was received respectfully as a volume for the study rather than a performing edition, being
an edited reproduction of various of Handels manuscript
versions.[89] An authentic performance was thought impossible: The Musical Times correspondent wrote, Handels orchestral instruments were all (excepting the trumpet) of a coarser quality than those at present in use; his
harpsichords are gone for ever ... the places in which he
performed the 'Messiah' were mere drawing-rooms when
compared with the Albert Hall, the Queens Hall and the
Crystal Palace.[89] In Australia, The Register protested at
the prospect of performances by trumpery little church
choirs of 20 voices or so.[90]

Ebenezer Prout in 1899

Although the huge-scale oratorio tradition was perpetuated by such large ensembles as the Royal Choral Society, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Hudderseld
Choral Society in the 20th century,[87] there were increasing calls for performances more faithful to Handels conception. At the turn of the century, The Musical Times
wrote of the additional accompaniments of Mozart and
others, Is it not time that some of these 'hangers on'
of Handels score were sent about their business?"[88]
In 1902, the musicologist Ebenezer Prout produced a
new edition of the score, working from Handels original manuscripts rather than from corrupt printed versions
with errors accumulated from one edition to another.[n 8]
However, Prout started from the assumption that a faith-

In Germany, Messiah was not so often performed as in

Britain;[91] when it was given, medium-sized forces were
the norm. At the Handel Festival held in 1922 in Handels native town, Halle, his choral works were given by a
choir of 163 and an orchestra of 64.[92] In Britain, innovative broadcasting and recording contributed to reconsideration of Handelian performance. For example, in
1928, Beecham conducted a recording of Messiah with
modestly sized forces and controversially brisk tempi, although the orchestration remained far from authentic.[93]
In 1934 and 1935, the BBC broadcast performances of
Messiah conducted by Adrian Boult with a faithful adherence to Handels clear scoring.[94] A performance
with authentic scoring was given in Worcester Cathedral
as part of the Three Choirs Festival in 1935.[95] In 1950
John Tobin conducted a performance of Messiah in St
Pauls Cathedral with the orchestral forces specied by
the composer, a choir of 60, a counter-tenor alto soloist,
and modest attempts at vocal elaboration of the printed
notes, in the manner of Handels day.[96] The Prout version sung with many voices remained popular with British
choral societies, but at the same time increasingly frequent performances were given by small professional ensembles in suitably sized venues, using authentic scoring.
Recordings on LP and CD were preponderantly of the


latter type, and the large scale Messiah came to seem old- 6.1

Messiah staged at the English National Opera, 2009

The numbering of the movements shown here is in accordance with the Novello vocal score (1959), edited
by Watkins Shaw, which adapts the numbering earlier
devised by Ebenezer Prout. Other editions count the
movements slightly dierently; the Brenreiter edition of
1965, for example, does not number all the recitatives
and runs from 1 to 47.[106] The division into parts and
scenes is based on the 1743 word-book prepared for
the rst London performance.[107] The scene headings
are given as Burrows summarised the scene headings by

The cause of authentic performance was advanced in 6.2

1965 by the publication of a new edition of the score,
edited by Watkins Shaw. In the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, David Scott writes, the edition at rst
aroused suspicion on account of its attempts in several
directions to break the crust of convention surrounding
the work in the British Isles.[98] By the time of Shaws
death in 1996, The Times described his edition as now
in universal use.[99][n 9]
Messiah remains Handels best-known work, with performances particularly popular during the Advent season;[45]
writing in December 1993, the music critic Alex Ross
refers to that months 21 performances in New York alone
as numbing repetition.[101] Against the general trend towards authenticity, the work has been staged in opera
houses, both in London (2009) and in Paris (2011).[102]
The Mozart score is revived from time to time,[103] and
in Anglophone countries "singalong" performances with
many hundreds of performers are popular.[104] Although
performances striving for authenticity are now usual, it
is generally agreed that there can never be a denitive
version of Messiah; the surviving manuscripts contain
radically dierent settings of many numbers, and vocal
and instrumental ornamentation of the written notes is
a matter of personal judgment, even for the most historically informed performers.[105] The Handel scholar
Winton Dean has written:

[T]here is still plenty for scholars to ght

over, and more than ever for conductors to decide for themselves. Indeed if they are not prepared to grapple with the problems presented
by the score they ought not to conduct it. This
applies not only to the choice of versions, but to
every aspect of baroque practice, and of course
there are often no nal answers.[100]


Organisation and numbering of movements


The nal bars of the Hallelujah chorus, from Handels


Handels music for Messiah is distinguished from most

of his other oratorios by an orchestral restrainta quality which the musicologist Percy M. Young observes was
not adopted by Mozart and other later arrangers of the
music.[108] The work begins quietly, with instrumental
and solo movements preceding the rst appearance of the
chorus, whose entry in the low alto register is muted.[40]
A particular aspect of Handels restraint is his limited use
of trumpets throughout the work. After their introduction
in the Part I chorus Glory to God, apart from the solo
in The trumpet shall sound they are heard only in Hallelujah and the nal chorus Worthy is the Lamb.[108]
It is this rarity, says Young, that makes these brass interpolations particularly eective: Increase them and
the thrill is diminished.[109] In Glory to God, Handel marked the entry of the trumpets as da lontano e un
poco piano, meaning quietly, from afar"; his original intention had been to place the brass ostage (in disparte)
at this point, to highlight the eect of distance.[29][110]
In this initial appearance the trumpets lack the expected
drum accompaniment, a deliberate withholding of effect, leaving something in reserve for Parts II and III ac-


Part II

cording to Luckett.[111]
Although Messiah is not in any particular key, Handels
tonal scheme has been summarised by the musicologist
Anthony Hicks as an aspiration towards D major, the
key musically associated with light and glory. As the
oratorio moves forward with various shifts in key to reect changes in mood, D major emerges at signicant
points, primarily the trumpet movements with their uplifting messages. It is the key in which the work reaches
its triumphant ending.[112] In the absence of a predominant key, other integrating elements have been proposed.
For example, the musicologist Rudolf Steglich has suggested that Handel used the device of the ascending
fourth" as a unifying motif; this device most noticeably
occurs in the rst two notes of I know that my Redeemer
liveth and on numerous other occasions. Nevertheless,
Luckett nds this thesis implausible, and asserts that the
unity of Messiah is a consequence of nothing more arcane than the quality of Handels attention to his text, and
the consistency of his musical imagination.[113] Allan
Kozinn, The New York Times music critic, nds a model
marriage of music and text ... From the gentle falling
melody assigned to the opening words (Comfort ye) to
the sheer ebullience of the Hallelujah chorus and the
ornate celebratory counterpoint that supports the closing
Amen, hardly a line of text goes by that Handel does
not amplify.[114]


Part I

Main article: Messiah Part I

The opening Sinfony is composed in E minor for strings,
and is Handels rst use in oratorio of the French overture
form. Jennens commented that the Sinfony contains passages far unworthy of Handel, but much more unworthy
of the Messiah";[113] Handels early biographer Charles
Burney merely found it dry and uninteresting.[40] A
change of key to E major leads to the rst prophecy, delivered by the tenor whose vocal line in the opening recitative Comfort ye is entirely independent of the strings
accompaniment. The music proceeds through various
key changes as the prophecies unfold, culminating in the
G major chorus For unto us a child is born, in which the
choral exclamations (which include an ascending fourth
in the Mighty God) are imposed on material drawn
from Handels Italian cantata N, di voi non vo'darmi.[40]
Such passages, says the music historian Donald Jay Grout,
reveal Handel the dramatist, the unerring master of dramatic eect.[115]
The pastoral interlude that follows begins with the short
instrumental movement, the Pifa, which takes its name
from the shepherd-bagpipers, or pierare, who played
their pipes in the streets of Rome at Christmas time.[110]
Handel wrote the movement in both 11-bar and extended
32-bar forms; according to Burrows, either will work

in performance.[32] The group of four short recitatives
which follow it introduce the soprano soloistalthough
often the earlier aria But who may abide is sung by
the soprano in its transposed G minor form.[116] The nal
recitative of this section is in D major and heralds the afrmative chorus Glory to God. The remainder of Part I
is largely carried by the soprano in B at, in what Burrows
terms a rare instance of tonal stability.[117] The aria He
shall feed his ock underwent several transformations
by Handel, appearing at dierent times as a recitative, an
alto aria and a duet for alto and soprano before the original soprano version was restored in 1754.[40] The appropriateness of the Italian source material for the setting of
the solemn concluding chorus His yoke is easy has been
questioned by the music scholar Sedley Taylor, who calls
it a piece of word-painting ... grieviously out of place,
though he concedes that the four-part choral conclusion is
a stroke of genius that combines beauty with dignity.[118]

6.4 Part II
Main article: Messiah Part II
The second Part begins in G minor, a key which, in
Hogwoods phrase, brings a mood of tragic presentiment to the long sequence of Passion numbers which
follows.[44] The declamatory opening chorus Behold the
Lamb of God, in fugal form, is followed by the alto
solo He was despised in E at major, the longest single item in the oratorio, in which some phrases are sung
unaccompanied to emphasise Christs abandonment.[44]
Luckett records Burneys description of this number as
the highest idea of excellence in pathetic expression of
any English song.[119] The subsequent series of mainly
short choral movements cover Christs Passion, Crucixion, Death and Resurrection, at rst in F minor, with a
brief F major respite in All we like sheep. Here, Handels use of N, di voi non vo'darmi has Sedley Taylors
unqualied approval: "[Handel] bids the voices enter in
solemn canonical sequence, and his chorus ends with a
combination of grandeur and depth of feeling such as is
at the command of consummate genius only.[120]
The sense of desolation returns, in what Hogwood calls
the remote and barbarous key of B at minor, for the
tenor recitative All they that see him.[44][121] The sombre sequence nally ends with the Ascension chorus Lift
up your heads, which Handel initially divides between
two choral groups, the altos serving both as the bass line
to a soprano choir and the treble line to the tenors and
basses.[122] For the 1754 Foundling Hospital performance
Handel added two horns, which join in when the chorus
unites towards the end of the number.[44] After the celebratory tone of Christs reception into heaven, marked
by the choirs D major acclamation Let all the angels
of God worship him, the "Whitsun" section proceeds
through a series of contrasting moodsserene and pastoral in How beautiful are the feet, theatrically operatic


in Why do the nations so furiously ragetowards the

Part II culmination of Hallelujah. This, as Young points
out, is not the climactic chorus of the work, although one
cannot escape its contagious enthusiasm.[123] It builds
from a deceptively light orchestral opening,[44] through a
short, unison cantus rmus passage on the words For the
Lord God omnipotent reigneth, to the reappearance of
the long-silent trumpets at And He shall reign for ever
and ever. Commentators have noted that the musical
line for this third subject is based on Wachet auf, Philipp
Nicolai's popular Lutheran chorale.[44][124]


Part III

Main article: Messiah Part III

The opening soprano solo in E major, I know that


from Handels 1722 cantata Se tu non lasci amore, and

is in Lucketts view the most successful of the Italian
borrowings.[126] The duet runs straight into the chorus
But thanks be to God.[125]
The reective soprano solo If God be for us (originally written for alto) quotes Luther's chorale Aus tiefer
Not. It ushers in the D major choral nale: Worthy is
the Lamb, leading to the apocalyptic Amen in which,
says Hogwood, the entry of the trumpets marks the nal
storming of heaven.[125] Handels rst biographer, John
Mainwaring, wrote in 1760 that this conclusion revealed
the composer rising still higher than in that vast eort
of genius, the Hallelujah chorus.[126] Young writes that
the Amen should, in the manner of Palestrina, be delivered as though through the aisles and ambulatories of
some great church.[129]

7 Recordings
Many early recordings of individual choruses and
arias from Messiah reect the performance styles then
fashionablelarge forces, slow tempi and liberal reorchestration. Typical examples are choruses conducted
by Sir Henry Wood, recorded in 1926 for Columbia
with the 3,500-strong choir and orchestra of the Crystal Palace Handel Festival, and a contemporary rival disc
from HMV featuring the Royal Choral Society under
Malcolm Sargent, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall.[130]

First page of the concluding chorus Worthy is the Lamb": From

Handels manuscript

my Redeemer liveth is one of the few numbers in the

oratorio that has remained unrevised from its original
form.[125] its simple unison violin accompaniment and
its consoling rhythms apparently brought tears to Burneys eyes.[126] It is followed by a quiet chorus that leads
to the basss declamation in D major: Behold, I tell
you a mystery, then the long aria The trumpet shall
sound, marked pomposo ma non allegro (dignied but
not fast).[125] Handel originally wrote this in da capo
form, but shortened it to dal segno, probably before the
rst performance.[127] The extended, characteristic trumpet tune that precedes and accompanies the voice is the
only signicant instrumental solo in the entire oratorio.
Handels awkward, repeated stressing of the fourth syllable of incorruptible may have been the source of the
18th-century poet William Shenstone's comment that he
could observe some parts in Messiah wherein Handels
judgements failed him; where the music was not equal,
or was even opposite, to what the words required.[125][128]
After a brief solo recitative, the alto is joined by the tenor
for the only duet in Handels nal version of the music,
O death, where is thy sting?" The melody is adapted

The rst near-complete recording of the whole work

(with the cuts then customary)[n 10] was conducted by Sir
Thomas Beecham in 1928. It represented an eort by
Beecham to provide an interpretation which, in his opinion, was nearer the composers intentions, with smaller
forces and faster tempi than had become traditional.[93]
His contralto soloist, Muriel Brunskill, later commented,
His tempi, which are now taken for granted, were revolutionary; he entirely revitalised it.[87] Nevertheless, Sargent retained the large scale tradition in his four HMV
recordings, the rst in 1946 and three more in the 1950s
and 1960s, all with the Hudderseld Choral Society
and the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.[87] Beechams
second recording of the work, in 1947, led the way towards more truly Handelian rhythms and speeds, according to the critic Alan Blyth.[87] In a 1991 study of all 76
complete Messiahs recorded by that date, the writer Teri
Noel Towe called this version of Beechams one of a
handful of truly stellar performances.[87]
In 1954 the rst recording based on Handels original
scoring was conducted by Hermann Scherchen for Nixa
using London forces[n 11] ; it was quickly followed by another version, judged scholarly at the time, under Sir
Adrian Boult for Decca.[131] By the standards of 21stcentury performance, however, Scherchens and Boults
tempi were still slow, and there was no attempt at vocal ornamentation by the soloists.[131] In 1966 and 1967

two new recordings were regarded as great advances in
scholarship and performance practice, conducted respectively by Colin Davis for Philips and Charles Mackerras for HMV. They inaugurated a new tradition of brisk,
small scale performances, with vocal embellishments by
the solo singers.[n 12] An important recording from 1965
conducted by Otto Klemperer is also available, featuring
superstar soloists Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Nicolai Gedda,
and Jerome Hines. Among the last notable recordings
of older-style performances were Beechams nal, extravagantly reorchestrated version made for RCA Victor in 1959;[87] one conducted by Karl Richter for DG
in 1973, though it used authentic orchestration;[n 13] and
a third based on Prouts 1902 edition of the score, with a
325-voice choir and 90-piece orchestra conducted by Sir
David Willcocks in 1995.[135]

Review Building a Library, musicologist Berta Joncus

surveyed recordings of Messiah and recommended the
2008 recording by The Sixteen, Harry Christophers (conductor), as the rst choice.[145]

By the end of the 1970s the quest for authenticity had

extended to the use of period instruments and historically correct styles of playing them. The rst of such
versions were conducted by the early music specialists
Christopher Hogwood (1979) and John Eliot Gardiner
(1982). The use of period instruments quickly became
the norm on record, although conductors such as Sir
Georg Solti (1985) and Sir Neville Marriner (1993) continued to favour modern instruments. Gramophone magazine and The Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music highlighted two versions, conducted respectively by
Trevor Pinnock (1988) and Richard Hickox (1992). The
latter employs a chorus of 24 singers and an orchestra
of 31 players; Handel is known to have used a chorus of
19 and an orchestra of 37.[136] Performances on an even
smaller scale have followed.[n 14]

The Novello Edition, edited by Watkins Shaw, rst

published as a vocal score in 1959, revised and issued 1965. This uses the numbering rst used in the
Prout edition of 1902.[106]

By 2006, much more was known about authentic performance, and many instrumentalists skilled in the period
style, and equipped with the right instruments were available. Edward Higginbottom produced a new recording,
based on the edition of 1751[139] (Naxos 8.570131). The
choir of New College Oxford (men and boys) provided
the chorus and soloists... bass, tenor, alto and treble. The
orchestra was the Academy of Ancient Music.

8 Editions
The rst published score of 1767, together with Handels documented adaptations and recompositions of various movements, has been the basis for many performing
versions since the composers lifetime. Modern performances which seek authenticity tend to be based on one
of three 20th-century performing editions.[106] These all
use dierent methods of numbering movements:

The Brenreiter Edition, edited by John Tobin, published in 1965, which forms the basis of the Messiah
numbering in Bernd Baselt's catalogue (HWV) of
Handels works, published in 1984.[106]
The Peters Edition, edited by Donald Burrows, vocal
score published 1972, which uses an adaptation of
the numbering devised by Kurt Soldan.[106]
The Oxford University Press edition by Cliord
Bartlett, 1998
The edition edited by Friedrich Chrysander and Max
Seiert for the Deutsche Hndel-Gesellschaft (Berlin,
1902) is not a general performing edition, but has been
used as a basis of scholarship and research.[106]

9 See also

Several reconstructions of early performances have been

Letters and writings of George Frideric Handel
recorded: the 1742 Dublin version by Scherchen in 1954
and again in 1959; and by Jean-Claude Malgoire in
1980[140] and several recordings of the 1754 Foundling
Hospital version, including those under Hogwood (1979), 10 Notes and references
Andrew Parrott (1989), and Paul McCreesh.[141][142] Unorthodox adaptations have included a late 1950s record- Notes
ing conducted by Leonard Bernstein of his own edition which regrouped and reordered the numbers into a
[1] Since its earliest performances the work has often been
Christmas section and an Easter section.[n 15] In 1973
referred to, incorrectly, as The Messiah". The article is
David Willcocks conducted a set for HMV in which all
absent from the proper title.[2]
the soprano arias were sung in unison by the boys of the
Choir of Kings College, Cambridge,[144] and in 1974, [2] The description Sinfony is taken from Handels autograph score.[18]
for DG, Mackerras conducted a set of Mozarts reorches[87]
trated version, sung in German.
On the Saturday 11 Apr 2009 broadcast of BBC 3s CD

[3] It is possible that Delaney was alluding to the fact that

Cibber was, at that time, involved in a scandalous divorce


[4] Anthony Hicks gives a slightly dierent instrumentation:

14 violins and 6 violas.[58]
[5] Swieten provided Mozart with a London publication of
Handels original orchestration (published by Randal &
Abell), as well as a German translation of the English libretto, compiled and created by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock and Christoph Daniel Ebeling.[71]
[6] A repeat performance was given in the Esterhza court on
7 April 1789,[73] and between the year of Mozarts death
(1791) and 1800, there were four known performances of
Mozarts re-orchestrated Messiah in Vienna: 5 April 1795,
23 March 1799, 23 December 1799 and 24 December
[7] Hiller was long thought to have revised Mozarts scoring substantially before the score was printed. Ebenezer
Prout pointed out that the edition was published as F.
G. [sic] Hndels Oratorium Der Messias, nach W. A.
Mozarts Bearbeitung nach meaning after rather than
in Mozarts arrangement. Prout noted that a Mozart edition of another Handel work, Alexanders Feast published
in accordance with Mozarts manuscript, was printed as
mit neuer Bearbeitung von W. A. Mozart (with new
arrangement by W. A. Mozart).[75] When Mozarts original manuscript subsequently came to light it was found
that Hillers changes were not extensive.[76]
[8] Many of the editions before 1902, including Mozarts, derived from the earliest printed edition of the score, known
as the Walsh Edition, published in 1767.[75]
[9] In 1966 an edition by John Tobin was published.[100] More
recent editions have included those edited by Donald Burrows (Edition Peters, 1987) and Cliord Bartlett (Oxford
University Press, 1999).



[15] In a review in The Gramophone, Andrew Porter referred

to Jens Peter Larsens observation that Messiah is 'manifold in its splendours, yet completely balanced, a unity':
not selected scenes from the life of Our Lord, but 'a representation of the fullment of Redemption through the
Redeemer'. Part I is the prophecy and realisation of Gods
plan to send the Redeemer to earth ; Part II is the accomplishment of redemption; and Part III 'a Hymn of Thanksgiving for the nal overthrow of Death'.[143]

[1] Also catalogued as HG xlv; and HHA i/17.Anthony Hicks
(2001). Handel, George Frideric. In Sadie, Stanley;
Tyrrell, John. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and
Musicians x (2 ed.). London: Macmillan. p. 785.
[2] Myers, Paul (Transcription of broadcast) (December
1999). Handels Messiah. Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
[3] British Citizen by Act of Parliament: George Frideric
Handel. 14 April 2009. Retrieved 13
April 2012.
[4] Luckett, p. 17 (see Sources section below)
[5] Lynam, Peter. Handel, George Frideric. Grove Music
Online. Retrieved 15 June 2011.(subscription required)
[6] Steen, p. 55
[7] Steen, pp. 5758
[8] Burrows (1991), p. 4
[9] Burrows (1991), p. 3

[10] The numbers customarily omitted were: from Part II,

Unto which of the angels"; Let all the angels of God
worship Him"; and Thou art gone up on high"; and from
Part III, Then shall be brought to pass"; O death, where
is thy sting?", But thanks be to God"; and If God be for

[10] Luckett, p. 30

[11] This recording was monophonic and issued on commercial CD by PRT in 1986; Scherchen re-recorded Messiah
in stereo in 1959 using Vienna forces; this was issued on
LP by Westminster and on commercial CD by Deutsche
Grammophon in 2001. Both recordings have appeared on
other labels in both LP and CD formats. A copyright-free
transfer of the 1954 version (digitized from original vinyl
discs by Nixa Records) is available on YouTube: part 1,
part 2, part 3.

[14] Burrows (1991), pp. 1011

[12] The Davis set uses a chorus of 40 singers and an orchestra

of 39 players;[132] the Mackerras set uses similarly sized
forces, but with fewer strings and more wind players.[133]
[13] The Richter set follows the Peters edition of the score
edited by Kurt Soldan (1939) and Arnold Schering
[14] A 1997 recording under Harry Christophers employed a
chorus of 19 and an orchestra of 20.[137] In 1993, the
Scholars Baroque Ensemble released a version with 14
singers including soloists.[138]

[11] Luckett, p. 33
[12] Luckett, pp. 3841
[13] Burrows (1991), pp. 67

[15] Luckett, pp. 7677

[16] Burrows (1991), pp. 5557
[17] Luckett, p. 73 (see Sources section below)
[18] Burrows (1991), p. 84
[19] Burrows (1991), pp. 7374
[20] Luckett, pp. 7980
[21] Vickers, David. "Messiah, A Sacred Oratorio. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
[22] Mr Charles Jennens: the Compiler of Handels Messiah.
The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular 43 (717):
72627. 1 November 1902. doi:10.2307/3369540.
[23] Burrows (1991), pp. 910
[24] Shaw, p. 11


[25] Luckett, p. 86

[60] Shaw, pp. 5152

[26] Burrows (1991), pp. 8 and 12

[61] Luckett, p. 176

[27] Shaw, p. 18

[62] Shaw, pp. 5561

[28] Shaw, p. 13

[63] Burrows (1991), p. 49

[29] Burrows (1991), pp. 6162

[31] Burrows (1991), p. 22

[64] Leissa, Brad, and Vickers, David. Chronology of George

Frideric Handels Life, Compositions, and his Times:
1760 and Beyond. Retrieved 20 May

[32] Burrows (1991), pp. 4144

[65] Burrows (1994), p. 304

[33] Burrows (1991), p. 48

[66] History: George Frederic Handel. Westminster Abbey.

Retrieved 18 May 2011.

[30] Shaw, pp. 2223

[34] Shaw, pp. 2426

[35] Cole, Hugo (Summer 1984). Handel in Dublin. Irish
Arts Review (198487) 1 (2): 2830.
[36] Burrows (1991), p. 14
[37] Luckett, pp. 11719

[67] Sargent, Malcolm (April 1955).

Gramophone: p. 19. (subscription required)
[68] Advertisement. The Daily Universal Register: p. 1. 30
May 1787.

[39] Luckett, pp. 12425

[69] Shedlock, J. S. (August 1918). Mozart, Handel,

and Johann Adam Hiller. The Musical Times 59
(906): pp. 37071. doi:10.2307/908906. JSTOR
908906.(subscription required)

[40] Hogwood, pp. 1721

[70] Steinberg, p. 152

[41] Butt, John. Programme notes: Gloucester, Three Choirs

Festival, 30 July 2013.
[42] Luckett, p. 126

[71] Holschneider, Andreas (1962). Hndel-Bearbeitungen:

Der Messias,Kritische Berichte. Neue Mozart Ausgabe,
Series X, Werkgruppe 28, Band 2 (Kassel: Brenreiter):

[43] Luckett, pp. 12728

[72] Robbins Landon, p. 338

[44] Hogwood, pp. 2225

[73] Steinberg, p. 150

[45] Kandell, Jonathan (December 2009). The Glorious History of Handels Messiah. Smithsonian magazine.

[74] Link, Dorthea (1997). Viennas Private Theatrical and

Musical Life,178392, as reported by Count Karl Zinzendork. Journal of the Royal Musical Association 12 (2):

[38] Burrows (1991), pp. 1719

[46] Shaw, p. 30
[47] Luckett, p. 131
[48] Shaw, pp. 3134
[49] Burrows (1991), pp. 2427
[50] Burrows (1991), pp. 3031
[51] Luckett, p. 175
[52] Burrows (1991), pp. 2829
[53] Snow, A.C. (23 December 2012). Perched on the cusp
of the Christmas cli. News & Observer.

[75] Prout, Ebenezer (May 1902). Handels 'Messiah': Preface to the New Edition, I. The Musical Times 43 (711):
pp. 31113. JSTOR 3369304. (subscription required)
[76] Towe, Teri Noel (1996). George Frideric Handel Messiah Arranged by Mozart. Classical Net. Retrieved 11
June 2011.
[77] Cummings, William H. (10 May 1904). The Mutilation
of a Masterpiece. Proceedings of the Musical Association,
30th Session (19031904): pp. 11327. JSTOR 765308.
(subscription required)

[54] Luckett, p. 153

[78] Musical. The New York Times. 27 December 1853.

[55] Burrows (1991), pp. 3435

[79] The Great Musical Festival in Boston. The New York

Times. 4 June 1865.

[56] Shaw, pp. 4247

[57] Shaw, pp. 4950

[80] Handel Festival, Crystal Palace. The Times: p. 6. 15

June 1857.

[58] Hicks, p. 14

[81] Laurence (Vol. 1), p. 151

[59] Hogwood, pp. 18 and 24

[82] Laurence (Vol. 2), pp. 24546




[83] Smither, Howard E. (August 1985). "'Messiah' and [101] Ross, Alex (21 December 1993). The Heavy Use (Good
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33948. doi:10.1093/earlyj/13.3.339. JSTOR 3127559.
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[102] Maddocks, Fiona (6 December 2009). Messiah; Falsta
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tine (20 April 2011). Broadway in Paris? A Theaters
[85] Beecham, pp. 67
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[86] Armstrong, Thomas (2 April 1943). Handels 'Messiah'". [103] Ashley, Tim (11 December 2003).
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[87] Blyth, Alan (December 2003). Handels Messiah Mu- [104] History. The Really Big Chorus. Retrieved 24 May
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[88] The Sheeld Musical Festival. The Musical Times 40 [105] Mackerras, Charles; Lam, Basil (December 1966). Mes(681): p. 738. November 1899. JSTOR 3367781. (subsiah: Editions and Performances. The Musical Times
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107 (1486): pp. 105657. doi:10.2307/952863. JSTOR
952863. (subscription required)
[89] Cummings, William H. (January 1903). The 'Messiah'". The Musical Times 44 (719): pp. 1618. [106] Burrows (1991), pp. ix and 86100
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[90] Handels Messiah. The Register (Adelaide, S.A.): p. 4. [108] Young, p. 63
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[109] Young, p. 64
[91] Brug, Manuel (14 April 2009). Der 'Messias ist hier im[110] Luckett, p. 93
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[111] Luckett, p. 87
[92] van der Straeten, E. (July 1922). The Handel Festival
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[113] Luckett, pp. 8889
[93] Messiah (Handel)". The Gramophone: p. 21. January [114] Kozinn, Allan (24 December 1997). Messiah Mavens
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Find that its Ambiguities Reward All Comers. The New
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[94] Dickinson, A. E. F. (March 1935). The Revival of Handels 'Messiah'". The Musical Times 76 (1105): pp 217 [115] Grout & Palisca, p. 445
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[95] The Three Choirs Festival. The Manchester Guardian: [117] Burrows (1991), p. 63
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[118] Taylor, p. 41
[96] "'Messiah' in First Version Performance at St. Pauls.
[119] Luckett, p. 95
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[121] Burrows (1991), p. 64
[97] Larner, Gerald. Which Messiah?", The Guardian, 18
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[126] Luckett, pp. 10406
[100] Dean, Winton.; Handel; Shaw, Watkins; Tobin, John;
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[129] Young, p. 45


[130] Klein, Herman (August 1926). Messiah. The Gramophone: p. 39. (subscription required)
[131] Porter, Andrew, in Sackville West, pp. 33745
[132] Sadie, Stanley (November 1966). Handel Messiah.
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[137] Heighes, Simon. Notes to Hyperion CD CDD 22019
[138] Finch, Hilary (April 1993). Handel Messiah. The
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[139] From CD packaging, Higginbotton/ New College/
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Armstrong, Karen (1996). A History of Jerusalem.

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Burrows, Donald (1994). Handel. Oxford: Oxford
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Steinberg, Michael (2005). Choral Masterworks:

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12 External links
For the full text, scriptural references and sound samples, see Messiah on Wikisource
Messiah (Handel): Free scores at the International
Music Score Library Project
Handels Messiah at the Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities

Der Messias, ed. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, K.
572: Score and critical report (German) in the Neue
Hallelujah Chorus Flash Mob on YouTube
High Denition Quality Recording OGG AAC





Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses


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