Handel’s Messiah

Featuring the Glacier Symphony, Orchestra and Chorale | John Zoltek, conductor

HandelMessiah (a sacred oratorio – selections)

Performed at three Flathead Valley venues!

Handel’s inspiring sacred English Language oratorio from the Baroque era was composed in 1741 and first given in Dublin in 1742. Developed during the Baroque era, the genre known as Oratorio is a name given to narrative sacred work (telling a story) composed for soloists, chorus and orchestra.

Handel’s Messiah has been continually been performed since the mid 18th century and is today perhaps the most well-known and beloved of all sacred music for chorus and orchestra. Although the entire work is almost 2.5 hours long, our performances (and many during the Christmas season) focus on what had become known as the “Christmas portion”: parts of the work that refer to the prophecy and birth of the anointed one, Jesus Christ. Featured choruses include “Glory to God”, “And He Shall Purify”, “For Unto Us A Child Is Born” and many others including the rousing “Hallelujah”.

Messiah was the sixth major work written in the oratorio genre that the composer had turned to in the 1730’s. His substantial experience as an opera composer enabled Handel to transfer dramatic elements and sensibilities to this narrative concert form. Other oratorios include Alexander’s Feast, Israel in Egypt, Samson, and Saul.

Although Handel is considered the most important English composer of the Late Baroque he was himself actually German. However, after arriving in London in 1712 to serve his employer, the new King George II, Handel, as a new composer eager to please his new audiences, quickly assimilated the tune structure and rhythmic identity of English popular and concert music. He then fused this new colloquial influence into his existing continental style and developed what we now experience as Handel’s wonderfully original, clear and refined musical language.

Handel’s approach to form and composition in general had a great influence on many great composers after him including Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. Beethoven considered him to be the greatest composer who ever lived. His great contemporary J.S. Bach was also equally impressed and stated that Handel “is the only person I would wish to see before I die, and the only person I would wish to be, were I not Bach.”


6 Dec
7:30 pm | Friday | Bigfork
Saint John Paul II Catholic Church

7 Dec
7:30 pm | Saturday | Whitefish
Christ Lutheran Church

8 Dec
3:00 pm | Sunday | Kalispell
Flathead High School

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