A celebration of christs birth death and resurrection

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, a celebration of Christ's birth, death, and resurrection.George Frideric HandelThe text of Messiahcomes from the King James Version of the Bible, much of it from the Old Testament. It is in three parts; the first deals with the prophecies and birth of Christ; the second of his death and resurrection; and the third of man's hope for redemption and resurrection as a result of Christ's mission. It has recitatives and arias inthe operatic style, sung by a soprano, alto, tenor, and bass soloist, and choruses sung by a four-part choir. The entire work is accompanied by an orchestra.Near the beginning, the tenor soloist sings the words from Isaiah that prophesy of the mission of John the Baptist:Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto herThat her warfare is accomplished,That her iniquity is pardoned.The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,Prepare ye the way of the Lord,Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.Every valley shall be exalted,And every mountain and hill made low:The crooked straight,And the rough places plain.
Title:Messiah, "Comfort Ye My People and Every Valley"Soloist:Jerry HadleyComposer:George Frideric Handel(05:45 mins, Comfort Ye My People Transcript(Links to an external site.))Handel sets the first two stanzas in the style of recitative. At first we hear the orchestra play a simple, pulsing accompaniment. When the tenor enters (#1), he sings the first phrase by himself. The orchestra then imitates him (#2). When the tenor sings again, hismelody is simple and speech-like, with only one note for every syllable. While he sings, the orchestra plays the pulsing accompaniment (#3). This style of recitative is called accompagato(accompanied). At one point, the orchestra drops out while the tenor freely sings "Comfort ye" (#4), but then the pulsing pattern resumes. After the first stanza of text, the pulsing orchestra accompaniment drops out and the tenor sings in a looser rhythm; here the orchestra simply punctuates the tenor's melody with single chords that act like commas and periods (#5). This style of recitative is called secco(dry).After the recitative, the tenor sings an aria for the third stanza of text (#6-"Every Valley Shall Be Exalted"). The accompaniment is much more active, and the vocal line featuresmany melismas(many notes on a single syllable of text). Melismas are typical of Baroque arias. You'll notice that the tenor sings the same words over and over again. This allows Handel to write music that is not restricted by the limits of the text. At the same time, this aria features much word painting, where the music imitates some aspectof the words. At one point (#7), for example, the tenor sings a long melisma on the word "exalted"; to paint the word, Handel writes a repeating pattern that moves higher and higher. On the word "low" the tenor sings the lowest note of the phrase (#8). On the word "crooked" the notes move up and down (#9), and on the word "plain" the tenor sings a series of long, held notes (#10).

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Term
Fall
Professor
ERIC BLANCHARD
Tags
Baroque, Baroque music, George Frederick Handel

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