204lect10 - Lecture 10 Summary and Terms Today well look at...

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Lecture 10 – Summary and Terms Today we’ll look at Handel’s English oratorios . An oratorio is a work which tells a religious story. Handel’s oratorios are mostly based on stories from the bible. Oratorios are almost always unstaged. They tend to use the musical language of contemporary operas. In some types of oratorio, the chorus plays a prominent role. As mentioned in the Oxford Companion biography, Handel composed a work called Esther around 1718, when he was spending time at Cannons, the estate of the Duke of Chandos. Like the secular Acis and Galatea , Esther was a relatively small-scale dramatic work which scholars have compared to a court masque. As Anthony Hicks explains in your reading for this week, Esther was performed in London at the Crown and Anchor Tavern early in 1732. The performers were the Children of the Chapel Royal, under the direction of Bernard Gates. Some of the people who heard those performances, including the Princess Royal, encouraged Handel to bring Esther to the public stage. Handel added more music, including two of the anthems he had written for George II’s coronation in 1727, and prepared to produce the oratorio at the King’s Theatre in May. The Bishop of London objected to the notion of his choristers being involved in a staged version of a sacred story. Handel decided to present Esther in an unstaged form, in what we would now call a concert version. The addition of the coronation music was a stroke of genius. The English public had
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204lect10 - Lecture 10 Summary and Terms Today well look at...

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