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This Day in History

World History

Thursday, September 14, 1741. :   Handel finishes composing his Oratorio, "Messiah".

     Georg Friedrich Handel was born on 23 February 1685, in Halle, Saxony. Already skilled on the harpsichord and organ at age 7, he began composing music when he was 9. During his composing career, he wrote around fifty operas, twenty-three oratorios, much church music and numerous outstanding instrumental pieces, such as the organ concerti, the Opus 6 Concerti Grossi, the Water Music, and the Fireworks Music.

Handel's best known work is probably the oratorio, "Messiah", written within a 24-day period, and completed on 14 September 1741. An oratorio is a large musical composition for orchestra, vocal soloists and chorus, telling a sacred story without costumes, scenery, or acting. "Messiah" is the story of the prophecy of the coming Messiah as told in the old Testament, and the life and death of Jesus, set to texts from the King James Bible. Originally conceived as an Easter oratorio, it has become popular to perform it at Christmas, particularly as it culminates with the powerful "Hallelujah" chorus.

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