Handel's Messiah

St. Thomas Performs Handel's Messiah
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About Handel's Messiah

Even though he was German by birth, George Friedrich Handel composed much of his music in England in the court of King George III. Handel is greatly responsible for what eventually became the English Oratorio Tradition.


Briefly, an "oratorio" is an opera without stage sets, costumes or action. The form came into being as a response to the closing of opera houses during Lent. In Rome, especially, a vibrant Italian Oratorio Tradition came about. Its music is virtually identical to virtuosic Italian opera of the time.

Messiah came into being after Handel was given a series texts from the King James Bible (the "authorized" English translation) compiled as a libretto (lyrics) by a clergyman, Charles Jensen.


Even though Jensen saw his libretto as a profound record of Salvation History, Handel was probably more pragmatic, seeing the task as a pleasant job. Nevertheless, he outdid himself with some of his best (and most famous) music. Everyone knows the chorus, "Hallelujah," but other spiritual highlights include: "And there were shepherds," for soprano and chorus (the Chorus playing the angels from Luke´s Gospel), the alto aria, "He was despised," bringing Christ´s Passion to poignant musical life, the exquisite aria for soprano, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," and the rousing "And the trumpet shall sound," with the bass soloist thundering out the promises springing from the Resurrection of Christ.In these places, especially, one can see the depth of Handel´s inspiration and his response to the text.


Handel´s Messiah is a very rich feast of great music, set to one of the most majestic of all Bible Translations. As a holiday companion through the years, either through live performances or recordings, it continues to offer new delights to the ears, the heart and the soul.


St. Thomas Performs Handel's Messiah

The St. Thomas choir performed Handel's Messiah several years ago and recorded it to CD.

Listen Online

Handel's Messiah - Overature
Handel's Messiah - Comfort ye my people
Handel's Messiah - He shall feed his flock like a shepherd
Handel's Messiah - And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed
Handel's Messiah - Thus saith the Lord
Handel's Messiah - But who may abide the day of His coming
Handel's Messiah - And he shall purify
Handel's Messiah - Behold, a virgin shall conceive
Handel's Messiah - He shall feed his flock like a shepherd
Handel's Messiah - For behold, darkness shall overcome the earth
Handel's Messiah - The people that walked in darkness
Handel's Messiah - For unto us a Child is born
Handel's Messiah - Meditation on the Nativity
Handel's Messiah - There were shepards abiding in the field and lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them and the angel said unto them
Handel's Messiah - Glory to God
Handel's Messiah - He shall feed his flock like a shepherd
Handel's Messiah - Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened
Handel's Messiah - He shall feed his flock like a shepherd
Handel's Messiah - Come unto him ye that labor
Handel's Messiah - His yoke is easy
Handel's Messiah - Hallelujah



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