Set work 1 HANDEL - And the glory of the Lord

The Baroque era (c. 1600-1750)
• An era of new ideas and innovations in the
arts, literature and philosophy
• Italy led the way in new ideas and fashion
• Baroque comes from Barocco = Portuguese
for ‘pearl’
• Most famous baroque composers were
George Frideric Handel
• Born in Germany in 1685
• Devoted his life to music at age 18.
• Famous pieces include ‘Water Music’, Music
for the Royal Fireworks’ and ‘Messiah.
• Went blind towards the end of his life and
died in England in 1759. Buried in
Westminster Abbey, London.
Handel’s ‘Messiah’ is an ‘Oratorio’?
• Musical work based on words and stories from
the bible
• Uses operatic forms such as recitative, chorus
and aria and, originally, was acted out with
scenery and full costume
• Similar to opera but only used texts for the
story that were taken from the bible
• By the time of Handel, the ‘acting’ element to
the oratorio had ceased.
• Most well-known of all the oratorios
• Libretto (story/words) is in three main parts –
telling the story of the birth, death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ
• Part 1 – prophecies tell of the coming of the
Messiah; story of Jesus’ birth
• Part 2 – ‘passion’ music of the suffering and
crucifixion of Jesus
• Part 3 – tells of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead
Background to Messiah
• Composed in 1741 in just 24 days
• Until 1741 Italian operas were very popular
but these became less popular – the idea of
sacred opera in English proved to be a popular
• The church forbade biblical stories to be acted
out in the theatre so they were performed in
concert performances instead.
Features of Baroque music
Ornamented melodic parts
Major/minor key system (replaced modes)
Use of Diatonic chords of I, IV, V, II and VI
Basso continuo (continuous bass)
Variety of musical textures, such as monophonic,
homophonic and polyphonic
• Baroque orchestra – strings, harpsichord, trumpets,
horns and drums. Various woodwind instruments, but
not standardized.
• Prevalence of one mood
• Contrasting dynamics: Loud/Soft
Styles of music found in an Oratorio
• Recitative – sung by a solo singer - the basic idea is to
get the words of the narration over with a minimum use of music.
Accompanied by just a few instruments.
• Aria – a solo song with instrumental
The music is more elaborate than in the recitative
to display the vocal qualities and expertise of the singer.
• Chorus – performed by a choir - sums up the action so
far at that point in the drama
Title: And the Glory of the Lord’ by G.F. Handel
Handel uses 4 contrasting musical ideas
One for each line of text
1. And the Glory of the Lord
2. shall be revealed
3. and all flesh shall see it together,
4. for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
1. ‘And the Glory of the Lord’
• Syllabic = one note per syllable
• First 3 notes outline triad of A major
• Stepwise scale ending
2. ‘shall be revealed’
• Melismatic = several notes per syllable
• Use of two descending sequences
3. ‘and all flesh shall see it together’
• Repetitive idea (3 statements of a descending pattern)
4. ‘for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it’.
• Long, repeated notes
Sung by a choir (SATB)
• S = Soprano
High female voices
• A = Alto
Low female voices
• T = Tenor
High male voices
• B = Bass
Low male voices
Instruments in
‘And the Glory of The Lord’
Violins 1
Violins 2
Continuo bass (‘cellos, doubles bass, harpsichord)
• The orchestra would probably been quite small –
about 16 players altogether.
General Points
• Tempo -The chorus is marked allegro (fast)
• Time signature - The chorus is in 3/4 time
• The lively triple time dance tempo gives a feeling
of ‘One in a bar’
• Key signature -The home key is A major
• Dynamics - The music is quite loud throughout
Summary of main choral styles
Choral style
Single-line writing
Bars 11-13
Four-part choir
Bars 33 (beat 3) - 38
Simple imitation
Bars 17 (beat 3) onwards
Two ideas together
Bars 110-113
Doubling of parts
Bar 51 onwards ‘for the mouth’
• Copy out the Summary table (p15)
• Answer questions 1-9 in full sentences. (p15)