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On this day: Handle completes "Messiah"


On September 14, 1741, George Frideric Handel completed perhaps his best known work, "Messiah." It took him only 24 days.

The text was written by Charles Jennens and is a three-part extended reflection on the life of Jesus Christ.

The text begins in Part I with prophecies by Isaiah and others. Part I also includes the annunciation to the shepherds of the birth of Christ. This is the only "scene" taken from the Gospels.

In Part II, Handel concentrates on Christ's death, resurrection and ascension. It then moves on to the spreading of the gospel through the world. Part II ends with the famous "Hallelujah" chorus.

Part III covers the resurrection of the dead and the prediction of the day of judgment. It ends with Christ's final victory over sin and death and His glorification in heaven.

Messiah was first performed at a charity concert in Dublin, Ireland on April 13, 1742.

Three charities were to benefit from the concert; Prisoners' debt relief, the Mercer's Hospital, and the Charitable Infirmary. Seven hundred people attended the premiere. The concert raised about £400, providing about £127 to each of the three charities and securing the release of 142 indebted prisoners.


Handle, Messiah


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