2011, Music

Messiah (2011) by Georg Friedrich Handel, performed by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Choir, directed by Ivars Taurins

For something so unbelievably famous, I am shocked at how little of this (I believe) I have heard over the years. Pretty much just the “Hallelujah” chorus is all I recognize.

But I understand why it’s such a favourite, as it’s a monstrous, impressive thing. I can only imagine what the more “modernized” ones sound like in terms of their monstrosity. (Though I am happy to hear a reasonably authentic reproduction instead.)

I recognize the greatness of this and the import, but at the end of the day, I think I am just going to prefer the more academic side of Baroque music. This is great, but there are greater Baroque pieces.


  1. Part I
    1. Scene 1: Isaiah’s prophecy of salvation
      1. Sinfony (instrumental)
      2. Comfort ye my people (tenor)
      3. Ev’ry valley shall be exalted (air for tenor)
      4. And the glory of the Lord (anthem chorus)
    2. Scene 2: The coming judgment
      1. Thus saith the Lord of hosts (accompanied recitative for bass)
      2. But who may abide the day of His coming (soprano, alto or bass)
      3. And he shall purify the sons of Levi (chorus)
    3. Scene 3: The prophecy of Christ’s birth
      1. Behold, a virgin shall conceive (alto)
      2. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion (air for alto and chorus)
      3. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (bass)
      4. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light (bass)
      5. For unto us a child is born (duet chorus)
    4. Scene 4: The annunciation to the shepherds
      1. Pifa (“pastoral symphony”: instrumental)
      2. There were shepherds abiding in the fields (secco recitative for soprano)
      3. And lo, the angel of the Lord (accompanied recitative for soprano)
      4. And the angel said unto them (secco recitative for soprano)
      5. And suddenly there was with the angel (accompanied recitative for soprano)
      6. Glory to God in the highest (chorus)
    5. Scene 5: Christ’s healing and redemption
      1. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (soprano)
      2. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened (secco recitative for soprano or alto)
      3. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd (alto and/or soprano)
      4. His yoke is easy (duet chorus)
  2. Part II
    1. Scene 1: Christ’s Passion
      1. Behold the Lamb of God (chorus)
      2. He was despised and rejected of men (alto)
      3. Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (chorus)
      4. And with his stripes we are healed (fugue chorus)
      5. All we like sheep have gone astray (duet chorus)
      6. All they that see him laugh him to scorn (secco recitative for tenor)
      7. He trusted in God that he would deliver him (fugue chorus)
      8. Thy rebuke hath broken his heart (tenor or soprano)
      9. Behold and see if there be any sorrow (tenor or soprano)
    2. Scene 2: Christ’s Death and Resurrection
      1. He was cut off (tenor or soprano)
      2. But thou didst not leave his soul in hell (tenor or soprano)
    3. Scene 3: Christ’s Ascension
      1. Lift up your heads, O ye gates (chorus)
    4. Scene 4: Christ’s reception in Heaven
      1. Unto which of the angels (tenor)
      2. Let all the angels of God worship Him (chorus)
    5. Scene 5: The beginnings of Gospel preaching
      1. Thou art gone up on high (soprano, alto, or bass)
      2. The Lord gave the word (chorus)
      3. How beautiful are the feet (soprano, alto, or chorus)
      4. Their sound is gone out (tenor or chorus)
    6. Scene 6: The world’s rejection of the Gospel
      1. Why do the nations so furiously rage together (bass)
      2. Let us break their bonds asunder (chorus)
      3. He that dwelleth in heaven (tenor)
    7. Scene 7: God’s ultimate victory
      1. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron (tenor)
      2. Hallelujah (anthem and fugue chorus)
  3. Part III
    1. Scene 1: The promise of eternal life
      1. I know that my Redeemer liveth (soprano)
      2. Since by man came death (chorus)
    2. Scene 2: The Day of Judgment
      1. Behold, I tell you a mystery (bass)
      2. The trumpet shall sound (bass)
    3. Scene 3: The final conquest of sin
      1. Then shall be brought to pass (alto)
      2. O death, where is thy sting (alto and tenor)
      3. But thanks be to God (chorus)
      4. If God be for us, who can be against us (soprano)
    4. Scene 4: The acclamation of the Messiah
      1. Worthy is the Lamb (chorus)
      2. Amen (chorus)

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