The History of Handel’s Messiah

Handel’s Messiah was composed in 1741(during the Baroque period which encompassed music from 1600-1750) by George Frederic Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Psalms from the Book of Common Prayer.

Originally intended as a work for Easter and Lent, Handel’s Messiah has become more of a Christmas time tradition.  Tonight, we will be highlighting portions of Handel’s Messiah; but did you know that it would take approximately 2 1/2 hours to listen straight through this oratorio(think opera, but without the stage)?

Although this famous composition was written in less than a month, it was not performed until a year later in 1742 in a Dublin theater opening Easter week.  At the end of Handel’s manuscript of “Messiah”(also his most famous composition), he inscribed the letters “S.D.G” for “Soli Deo Gloria” — a Latin term meaning “Glory to God alone”.  Controversially on the flip side, some suggest that Handel’s brief timeline to compose such a large masterpiece was not due to divine inspiration, but rather because he borrowed heavily from his earlier works.

Messiah has over 50 movements/scenes within its 3 Parts structure.

Throughout Handel’s Messiah, observe how he employs a technique called text painting–where the musical note mimics the lines of text.

PART 1(sometimes called the Christmas portion) corresponds with Advent, Christmas, and the life of Jesus.  It reflects the story of Christ from the prophecy of his birth in the Old Testament (particularly the book of Isaiah).

PART 2 describes the Passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, concluding with its famous “Hallelujah” chorus. (Why do people stand up during the “Hallelujah” chorus?  The most common theory says that a king was so moved that he stood up–and if the king stands everybody stands…and perhaps beginning the custom. Still, fairly early on, people did stand up for this most famous chorus, and also for Messiah’s other grand choruses.)

PART 3 differs from the other two in that in that it tells no story.  Instead, it concentrates on Paul’s teachings of the resurrection of the dead, and Christ’s glorification in heaven.  It opens with the moving soprano aria “I know that My Redeemer Liveth”, and concludes with a final chorus of “Amen”



When Handel’s Messiah was written over 250 years ago, he used the highest and best musical language to express who the Messiah is and the hope we can look forward to.  We too sought to express this timeless message and this arrangement represents the process of giving a glimpse into the intensity and excitement of the Messiah’s story.


Comfort Ye My People


Our drama was inspired by Isaiah 40:1-3, mainly God’s declaration of his comfort over his people:

“1 Comfort, comfort my people,

says your God.

2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,

and proclaim to her

that her hard service has been completed,

that her sin has been paid for,

that she has received from the Lord’s hand

double for all her sins.

3 A voice of one calling:

“In the wilderness prepare

the way for the Lord[a];

make straight in the desert

a highway for our God”

In a fun, glee/karaoke flavored presentation we are sharing how God is with us through all of life circumstances and expressing God’s comfort in the midst of life struggles we may experience.


The People that Walked in Darkness


Our spoken word was inspired specifically by the passage in Isaiah 9:2,

“The people walking in darkness

have seen a great light;

on those living in the land of deep darkness

a light has dawned.”

Reading through the book of Isaiah helped us to understand God’s hope and salvation breaking through darkness and rebellion.  Through the poem in its entirety, we portrayed the turn from darkness to light, as an expression of what God’s word says to us and how we’ve experienced this in our lives.


For Unto Us a Child is Born



Glory To God In The Highest


Luke 2:14

“Glory to to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

The heart behind our routine is to proclaim the peace that we have recieved and to rejoice greatly! The unique elements of the dance, tap, and stomp were unified to bring Glory to God. We invite others to Rejoice with us. He Has Come!!!!


Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter Of Zion

Animation Video

With an electro remix of “Rejoice Greatly,” this video is inspired by the words in the song from Zechariah 9:9-10 and Matthew 21:5, as we are invited to rejoice because Jesus has come to us. Shapes in a 2D animation depict the birth of the Lord Jesus, the coming of King Jesus into the city of Jerusalem on His way to the cross, and His speaking peace to the unbelievers. In His coming to this world and to our lives, people are changed and more become His believers.


He Shall Feed His Flock Like A Shepherd


Isaiah 40:11 speaks of God gathering the lambs in his arms. Matthew 11:28-29 speaks of how light and easy His yoke is. With these truths in mind, the rap was a portrayal of the intense, but yet tenderness of our God, our shepherd ; Who has come down to bring us life.


Hallelujah! / I Know that My Redeemer Liveth


Categories: Remembering

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