Just in time for Messiah sing-along season!

This week, we at The Avid Listener bring you an excerpt from Ellen T. Harris‘ new book: George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends. In this excerpt, Harris considers the Biblical textual sources and political references of two of Handel’s oratorios: Messiah and Israel in Egypt. Here’s a teaser:

“Oratorios are dramatic compositions, usually set to religious, and often Biblical, texts, as is the case here, and performed without any staging as concert pieces. At the time these oratorios were composed, Protestant England was in conflict politically with Catholic Spain and France. English Protestants, however, were concerned less about the religious threat of Catholicism than with the rise of Deism, a rationalist philosophy that denied the existence of miracles or prophecy. While including reference to these political and religious issues, the two oratorios also contain some of the most astonishing music ever written…”

See the full blog post here.

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