The Glorious History of Handel's Messiah
Handel's Messiah Premieres in Dublin
George Frederic Handel
One of the great masterpieces during the Baroque era in music was Handel's Messiah. This oratorio was composed by George Frederic Handel. The Messiah premiered in Dublin, Ireland on April 13, 1742, during the season of Lent. This sacred piece of music was an Easter offering. It was never intended to be a piece of Christmas music. In today's society the Messiah is performed in churches and concert halls across America a few weeks leading up to Christmas. It's as popular of a Christmas tradition as the hanging of the evergreens, Christmas trees, and all the trappings of Christmas. In Owensboro, Kentucky, the Messiah was performed on December 7, 1941 at Third Baptist Church, Pearl Harbor Day. Ever since then, the Messiah is performed around December 7th in Owensboro.
According to History.com, the inspiration for the Messiah came from a scholar and editor Charles Jennens, a devout evangelical Christian concerned with the rising influence from Deism, which is the philosophy that God created the world, set it into motion, and then withdrew himself from man's daily affairs. It was one of the philosophies that resulted from the Enlightenment, the 18th century movement that placed much emphasis on science. Drawing source material from the King James Bible, and the Book of Common Prayer, Jennens edited and compiled a concise distillation of Christian doctrine, from the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah's coming through the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and to the promised Second Coming and the Day of Judgment. Jennens took this libretto to his friend George Frederic Handel and proposed it form the basis of an oratorio expressly intended for the performance in a secular setting the week preceding Easter.
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