George Frederic Handel
Handle was born in Germany in 1685. From about 1710 he lived in England. He died in London in 1759 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
He was popular with Queen Anne, George I and George II. He composed 'Zadok the Priest' for the coronation of George II, and it's been played at every coronation since then. He also wrote music for the Clavinist church in Germany and the Church of England.
Handle wrote lots of music including lots of Oratorios and Operas. As well as Choral music, he wrote many orchestral pieces - one of the most famous is the 'Water Music'
Handel wrote Messiah in 1741.
It became popular with audiences because of its uplifting choruses (like the Hallelujah Chorus).
It was popular with other composers such as Mozart. Mozart liked it so much he arranged his own version of it.
Messiah was orginally performed at Easter, but it's now usually sung at Christmas.
The Libretto (text) was put together by Charles Jennens, who took the words from the old and new testaments of the King James Bible.
It was written for SATB choir, SATB soloists and a full Baroque orchestra, Handel wrote parts for oboes, basson, trumpets, timpani, strings and basso continuo - often a harpsichord.
Mozarts later arrangement added flutes, clainets, french horns, trombones and an organ.
Chorus from Messiah.
1) And the Glory of the Lord is the fourth piece in the first section of Messiah.
2) It comes after an aria sung by a tenor, and before a bass recitative.
3) It's the first chorus you hear in the oratorio.
4) The chorus is made up of the lines 'And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed', 'And all flesh shall see it together' and 'For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it'. These phrases are repeated throughout the piece (the fisrt is broken up into two parts - And the glory of the Lord' and 'Shall be revealed', so there are actually four separate phrases).
5) For most of this chorus, the orchestra doubles the vocal parts - Insturments play in Unison with the singers.
1) most of 'And the Glory of the Lord' is in A Major, though it does modulate (change key0 in a few places. It goes to E Minor twice and B Major once. It sounds happy and joyful.
2) The texture in most of the piece is Homophonic (All the parts move together). Some bits are Polyphonic ( parts weaving in and out of each other). For example in bars 91 - 107, all the four vocal parts are singing different tunes at the same time.
3) This piece is marked Allegro - It is quick and lively. It's in 3 time but in some places it
feels like it is in 2 time, this is called a hemiola.
The four main musical ideas. Parts 1 & 2
1) And the Glory of the Lord is made up a few muscial ideas or motifs. Handel aually introduces these motifs very simply - just sung by one part, then weaves them into the rest of the music. The four motifs go with the four phrases (on the last card.)
A) The first motif is sung by the Alto's in bars 11-14
B) Most of this phrase is syllabic - each syllable has its own note
C) The phrase is ' And the glory of the Lord'
A) The second motif's introduces by the Tenor's in bars 17-20.
B) The words 'be revealed' are spread over a descending sequence
C) The syallables of the word 'revealed' are spread over lots of notes, this is mellismatic, the oppsite of syllabic.
The four main musical ideas. Parts 3 & 4
A) The thrid motif is sung by the altos in bars 43-46.
B) The same bit of the melody is repeated three times
C) The phrase is 'and all flesh shall see it toegether'
A)The final motif is introduced by the tenors and basses in bars 51-57. Its the only motif that is introduced by two parts.
B) They sing in unison for the first 5 bars, then in harmony for the last two.
C) Most of the motif is on the same note (an A). This is a pedal point.
D) the notes are quite long (minims and dotted minims). It sounds serious and important.
2) Once the moifs have been introduced, the parts imitate each other, in bars 79-83, the altos and tenors begin a phrase and then the sopranos and basses start the same phrase one bar later (in canon)
3) The last four bars of the piece are marked Adiago - they are much slower. It finishes with a plagal cadance (chord IV followed by chord I), this makes the piece sound finshed.