Handel: Messiah

The New York Philharmonic

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Handel: Messiah

Recorded December 15, 2009

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Messiah

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685–1759)
Messiah (1741)

Messiah represents the quintessential classical music highpoint of the Christmas season. Handel’s inspired setting of Biblical texts is a three-part meditation on the prophecy and fulfillment of God’s plan to redeem the world through a savior. Part I is filled with the joy of anticipation of that savior (epitomized in the jubilant chorus “Unto Us a Child is Born”). Part II reflects the sorrow and agony surrounding Christ’s passion and death, and the exultation of the resurrection, captured in the stirring “Hallelujah” chorus. Part III is a hymn of thanksgiving for the final defeat of death and for life eternal. Among the many other highlights of the oratorio are the noble concluding chorus, “Worthy is the Lamb” and the final “Amen.” Messiah’s dazzling solos, firework-filled instrumental passages, and some of the most glorious choral writing of all time have made it the undisputed holiday favorite of concert halls and churches throughout the world.

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