Oratorio as Exegesis: The Use of the Book of Isaiah in Handel's Messiah

Oratorio as Exegesis: The Use of the Book of Isaiah in Handel's Messiah Biblical Interpretation 15 (2007) 464-484 www.brill.nl/bi Biblical Interpretation orn © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2007 DOI: 10.1163/156851507X216508 Oratorio as Exegesis: e Use of the Book of Isaiah in Handel’s Messiah Andrew Davies Mattersey Hall Graduate School Abstract Handel’s Messiah is among the best-known musical compositions of all time, and it is also heavily dependent upon the Bible for its theme and content, thus making it an ideal source for a study of the Bible in music. In this paper I consider how Handel and his librettist Charles Jennens made use of the text of the book of Isaiah (the single most quoted biblical book in the libretto) in both the words and the music of this great oratorio, offering en route some observations on the features of a musical text that need to be taken into account in ‘reading’ it in this way. Keywords Isaiah, music, Handel, Messiah , oratorio is paper is about two of the great icons of world culture, the Bible and Handel’s Messiah , and what they have in common. For those of us who live in the United Kingdom in particular, the link between the two is rather more than thematic. Messiah is http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biblical Interpretation Brill

Oratorio as Exegesis: The Use of the Book of Isaiah in Handel's Messiah

Biblical Interpretation, Volume 15 (4-5): 464 – Jan 1, 2007

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2007 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0927-2569
eISSN
1568-5152
DOI
10.1163/156851507X216508
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Biblical Interpretation 15 (2007) 464-484 www.brill.nl/bi Biblical Interpretation orn © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2007 DOI: 10.1163/156851507X216508 Oratorio as Exegesis: e Use of the Book of Isaiah in Handel’s Messiah Andrew Davies Mattersey Hall Graduate School Abstract Handel’s Messiah is among the best-known musical compositions of all time, and it is also heavily dependent upon the Bible for its theme and content, thus making it an ideal source for a study of the Bible in music. In this paper I consider how Handel and his librettist Charles Jennens made use of the text of the book of Isaiah (the single most quoted biblical book in the libretto) in both the words and the music of this great oratorio, offering en route some observations on the features of a musical text that need to be taken into account in ‘reading’ it in this way. Keywords Isaiah, music, Handel, Messiah , oratorio is paper is about two of the great icons of world culture, the Bible and Handel’s Messiah , and what they have in common. For those of us who live in the United Kingdom in particular, the link between the two is rather more than thematic. Messiah is

Journal

Biblical InterpretationBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2007

Keywords: MESSIAH; HANDEL; MUSIC; ORATORIO; ISAIAH

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