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George Friderick Handel (1685-1759) Germany. Age of 18 devoted life to music First serious Opera – Rodrigo performed in 1707 Appointed Kapellmeister ( director of music for the monarch or nobleman ) to the Elector of Hanover in 1710 Permission to take year’s leave in London. Remained in

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george friderick handel 1685 1759 germany

George Friderick Handel(1685-1759) Germany

  • Age of 18 devoted life to music
  • First serious Opera – Rodrigo performed in 1707
  • Appointed Kapellmeister (director of music for the monarch or nobleman) to the Elector of Hanover in 1710
  • Permission to take year’s leave in London. Remained in
  • England for the rest of his life
  • Wrote many instrumental works – Overtures, Concerti
  • Grossi
  • Became Royal Court composer to George 1 of England
  • Wrote the Water Music for the king’s triumphant
  • procession up the River Thames
  • Buried in Westminster Abbey
  • A musical work based on words or stories (libretto) from the Bible
  • Name taken from St Philip Neri’s oratory or ‘Hall of Prayer’ situated in Rome
  • Designed for concert hall performance
  • Used Operatic form – Recitative, Aria and Chorus
  • Famous Handel Oratorios include:

Judas Maccabeus, Samson, Solomon, Saul, Israel in Egypt and the Messiah

  • Recitative – a style used in operas, oratorios and cantatas (part of church service for choir and soloists) in which the text is told (declaimed) in the rhythm of natural speech. It sounds half sung / half spoken. The accompaniment (backing) is very minimal. It sets the scene.
  • Aria – a solo vocal piece with instrumental accompaniment (backing) – Reflects mood or emotion and is elaborate to show the singers expertise in full
  • Chorus – the whole choir sings summing up the action of the story. They can sound very powerful
background to messiah
Background to Messiah
  • Italian operas were becoming unpopular in London
  • A sacred opera written in English more popular
  • Written for concert performance
  • 1741, Handel writes the Messiah
  • First performed in Dublin in 1742
  • First English performance at Covent Garden in 1743 – (did not make a good impression with the London Audience!!)
  • Original accompaniment (strings, continuo (trumpets and timpani used in several of the uplifting movements)
  • Handel went on to add parts for oboes and bassoon to double the string parts and in places the voice parts
structure of the oratorio in messiah
Structure of the Oratorio in Messiah
  • ‘And the Glory of the Lord’ is the 4thmovement of the work
  • It is the first chorus of the work
  • Scored (written) for SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass)
  • Orchestral accompaniment (backing)
  • It follows the opening instrumental overture, then two solo items –
  • a Tenor recitative ‘Comfort ye my people’

and a Tenor aria ‘Ev’ry valley’

musical ideas there are 4 main ideas in this chorus
Musical Ideas There are 4 main ideas in this chorus
  • All four of these ideas are contrasted (made to sound different)
  • Each phrase (melody) has its own character and shape
  • The whole movement matches the joyful words through time signature and Allegro tempo marking
  • The key signature is in A major
  • Modulates to the dominant – E major
  • And then the dominant of the dominant – B major
  • Minor keys are avoided to match the joyful words
musical ideas
Musical Ideas
  • Idea 1: ‘And the glory of the Lord’
  • Characteristic features:
  • The first three notes outline a triad (A major)
  • The melody ends in a scalic stepwise movement
  • The setting if the words are mainly syllabic (one note per syllable)

Idea 2: ‘Shall be revealed’

  • Characteristic features:
  • Two one bar descending sequences
  • The setting if the words are mainly melismatic (several notes to a syllable e.g. revealed)

Idea 3: ‘And all flesh shall see it together’

  • Characteristic features:
  • A repetitive idea based on three statements of the descending fourth
  • The repetition gives the impression of a firm statement

Idea 4: ‘For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it’

  • Characteristic features:
  • Long dotted minim repeated notes
  • Used to emphasis conviction
  • Tenors and basses double together
  • cadence two chords at the end of a musical phrase. There are four main types of cadence: perfect, imperfect, interrupted and plagal
  • harmonic rhythm the number of times the chords change per bar
  • hemiola in triple time, this is a harmonic device often used towards a cadence point, in which notes are grouped in two beat units, e.g.
  • homophonic common musical texture comprising a melody part and accompaniment
  • imitative literally separate parts copying or imitating each other. If the imitation is note for note the same, this will then be a canon
  • modulating when the music changes key
  • pedal a sustained note usually in the lowest bass part. In the middle of a musical texture it is called an inner pedal and if at the top, an inverted pedal
  • perfect cadence chord V followed by chord I pitch how high or low a note sounds plagal cadence chord IV followed by chord I
  • tonic the first degree of a scale, the keynote, e.g. in C major the note C is the tonic note
  • Vb dominant chord (V) in first inversion (b)
  • V7c dominant 7th chord (V7) in second inversion (c)
  • Diatonic – notes or chords belonging to the key
  • Affection – mood of the music