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Handel - And the glory of the lord from messiah
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Handel - And the glory of the lord from messiah


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  • 1. George Frideric Handel Born in Germany 1685 Went to Italy in his 20s Returned to Germany and became court conductor for Prince Elector of Hanover Moved to London. Then Prince Elector of Hanover became George 1st of Britain so Handel composed for him again Generally made his living from composing operas and oratorios Died in London 1789
  • 2. Sacred and Secular music Sacred – has a religious aspect. Can be Mass, Requiem, Chorale, Oratorio or Cantata. Secular – non religious. Can be Opera or Cantata.
  • 3. Features of Baroque Music Tonal Use of ornamentation Mainly string orchestra Use of basso continuo Terraced dynamics
  • 4. Messiah An oratorio Written in 3 weeks in the summer of 1741 Words set by Charles Jennens. Mainly from the prophecies of the Messiah in the Old Testament of King James’ Bible. First performed in Dublin 13 April 1742 First performed in London in the Covent Garden Theatre. The audience doubted of presenting such a subject in the theatre was a good idea. But eventually this became the most famous of all major choral work.
  • 5. An oratorio Large scale orchestral work Biblical subject for concert performance (like an opera but sacred music not secular) Handel’s were often poetic versions of dramatic storiesIn oratorios there were: Arias – vocal solo with orchestral accompaniment Recitative – like a spoken song. Tells a story and rhythm is like normal speech Chorus – sung by the choir . Usually SATB.
  • 6. First Performance in Dublin 13thApril 1742 No more than 16 singers and 10 string players The altos were counter altos – male altos – who used a technique called falsetto to get the high notes. The pitch was a semitone lower than today. The recording tries to imitate this performance.
  • 7. ‘And the Glory of the Lord’ The fourth movement. First chorus. After a tenor aria and before a bass recitative 4 motifs based on the four phrases: And the glory of the Lord Shall be revealed And all flesh shall see it together For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it
  • 8. Metre This is in ¾ simple triple time The triple metre makes I dance like so it sounds joyfulTempo Allegro – fast, sounds joyful Last four bars are marked Adagio. This is only intended to be a little slower than allegro (which is what it is in the recording). It helps create a grand ending.
  • 9. Tonality Begins in bright and joyful key of A major. Starts to change in bar 22 to E major – the dominant – with the appearances of D#. It then returns to A major in bar 37. E major is briefly passed through in bar 63 before the piece moves swiftly to B major – the dominant of the dominant. The piece then returns on its journey the way it wen and it goes back to E major in bar 93 then A major in bar 105. It stays in A from then onwards.
  • 10. Harmony The voices are in harmony . There is no dissonance. At the end of the introduction, there is a perfect cadence to mark it. Perfect cadences are used o confirm the changes of keys eg. bars 37 – 38 a perfect cadence in E major. Handel makes the last of chord of one section the first of the next so that a sense of energy is achieved. The piece ends in a plagal cadence so it sounds like a grand ‘Amen’.
  • 11. Melody Each motif has its distinctive melody Motif A: leaps to outline A major. Ends with the last 3 notes of an ascending A major scale. This movement from low A to high A creates a surge of confidence. Motif B : a smooth descending outline. Has a sequence. Motif C: A repeated figure spanning the interval of E and A. Motif D: mostly on the same pitch, combined with the rhythm creates a solemn chant.
  • 12. Rhythm Like melody, the rhythm for each motif is different. Motif A: simple rhythm, with a dotted crotchet- quaver rhythm in the second bar Motif B: dotted rhythm sequence Motif C: a repeated crotchet quaver, quaver, crotchet figure. Motif D: contains long dotted crotchets, expressing seriousness of the words. Hemiolas are used at cadences eg. Bar 9 – 10 There is a general pause before the last phrase for effectiveness
  • 13. Texture Alternates between homophonic and contrapuntal. Motif A is sung by altos then repeated by the whole choir homophonically. Handel contrasts the opening homophonic texture by creating a contrapuntal one in bar 22 where the tenors enter with motif A whilst the others continue with motif B. Motifs are often combined in counterpoint to create a complex contrapuntal texture. Another technique used by Handel to vary texture is by using different combinations of voices. Eg. Bar 108 – 110 where the sopranos are on their own so that their highest note – A – is exposed. Ends homophonic so it sounds ‘grand’.
  • 14. Structure All based around the 4 motifs Begins with introduction – bars 1-10 Then the entry of motif A and B – bars 11-8 After the piece modulates to E major there is a ritornello in E major – bars 38-42 It then introduces motif C and D – bars 43-73 There is another ritornello for 3 bars (73-75) Then there is a long section of 57 bars which the choir sings There is a general pause before the Adagio bars, which is the ‘grand ending’
  • 15. Dynamics They were originally not marked. Terraced dynamics are used as instruments then did not have a great dynamic range. The only dynamics are f and pInstruments String orchestra. Basso continuo: cello and chamber organ.