In 1741 Handel was invited to visit Dublin by the Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland for a series of concerts. It seems that as a
result of this he composed the Messiah. As it was forbidden in
those days to perform or produce an opera on the theme of the
Messiah, Handel chose the genre of Oratorio. However the work is
pure opera and should really be performed as such. The present
edition by Richard Bonynge recognises this and uses all the
brilliant coloratura techniques of the time.
The work was begun on August the 22nd and completed in a mere
three weeks on the 14th of September. The flow of the work is
inspired and can only be regarded with awe. In November Handel
arrived in Dublin. He was resident in Abbey Street near the River
Liffey. His letters to friends in England are full of the kindness
with which he was received and the excellent musical forces at his
disposal, both instrumental and vocal. Many of his works were
produced including Acis and Galatea, Alexander's Feast, Esther,
the Ode on St. Cecilia's as well as many of his concerti.
In April of 1792 an advertisement appeared in the " Dublin
Journal " announcing the upcoming premiere of the
"Messiah". It was to be a benefit performance for the
relief of prisoners in various goals as well as in aid of the
Mercer hospital in Stephen's Street and the charitable Infirmary
at the Inns Quay. The first performance took place at a public
rehearsal on the 12th of April. It was performed by the choirs of
both Anglican Cathedrals of Dublin accompanied by the Viceregal
orchestra and was conducted by Handel himself. The reviews were
ecstatic. The Dublin journal wrote: "Yesterday Mr.
Handel's new grand sacred Oratorio called The Messiah was
rehearsed to a most Grand, Polite and crowded Audience; and was
performed so well, that it gave universal Satisfaction to all
present; it was allowed by the greatest Judges to be the finest
Composition of Musick that ever was heard"
The Charities realising that people were clamouring to get in
to the actual performance and seeing that more money was to be
made, issued the following notice in the Dublin papers:
"Many Ladies and Gentlemen who are well-wishers to this
Noble and Grand Charity for which this Oratorio was composed,
request it as a Favour, that the Ladies who honour this
Performance with their Presence would be pleased to come without
Hoops and the Gentlemen without swords, as it will greatly
increase the Charity , by making Room for more company."
Hundreds packed the New Music Hall in Fishamble Street and the
performance was a triumph.
Strangely, although Messiah went on to be on of the most
popular pieces of music in Ireland, it did not meet with the same
success in England. A performance at Covent Garden conducted by
Handel was politely received but did not make the same impact. It
was not until 1749 that it first began to be appreciated.
Performances were given for several charities, directed by the
composer. Suddenly the English charities caught on the money
Messiah was making them and they organised more and more
performances. Handel, who was himself very poor at the time,
finally decided that it was time for him to also reap some
financial benefit from the Messiah. The charities reacted with
horror and set about trying to put through a parliament bill to
give them the exclusive rights of all performances. Handel was
outraged and squashed the whole idea with the words " For
why should the Foundling vish to put mein Oratorio to de
parliament? Mein Oratorio shall not go to de parliament"
And that was that. Nevertheless he did leave one of the charities
a score and a set of parts after his death.
© Lygia O'Riordan
Artistic Director and Conductor Lygia O’Riordan
Maria Struve Children's Capella
Artistic Director Maria Struve
“Cantores Minores” Ensemble
Artistic Director and Conductor Filip Häyrynen
Ludmilla Shilova - Soprano
Jaewoo Kim - Tenor
Kiril Krajushin – Bass
Comfort ye, my people, saith your God;
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem,
And cry unto her, that warfare is accomplished,
2That her inquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the
wilderness: Prepare ye that way of the Lord,
Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted,
And every mountain and hill made low:
The crooked straight and the rough places plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see
it together: For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
And he shall purify the sons of Levi, That they may offer unto the
Lord an offering in righteousness.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given,
And the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called Wonderful,
Counsellor, the mighty God,
the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace
There were shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
And the glory of the Lord shone round about them,
and they were sore afraid.
And the Angel said unto them: Fear not for behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy,
Which shall be to all people:
For unto you is born this day in the city of David Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.
And suddenly there was with the angel,
A multitude of heavenly host, Praising God, and saying:
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace on earth, good will towards men.
Rejoice greatly, o Daughter of Zion, shout,
O daughter of Jerusalem, behold, thy King cometh to thee.
He is righteous Saviour,
And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.
His yoke is easy and his burden is light,
and his burden is light.
Behold the Lamb of God,
that taketh away the sin of the world.
Surely He hath born our griefs and carried our sorrows,
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our
iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.
And with His stripes we were healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray,
we have turned every one to his own way.
And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
All they that see Him laugh Him to scorn:
they shoot out their lips, and shake their heads, saying:
He trusted in God that He would deliver Him:
let Him deliver Him, if He delight Him.
Thy rebuke hath broken His heart; He is full of heaviness:
He looked for some to have pity on Him,
but there was no man, neither found he any, to comfort Him.
Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow.
He was cut off from the land of the living,
for the transgression of Thy people was he stricken.
But thou didst not leave His soul in hell,
nor didst Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be lift up, ye everlasting doors,
and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
The Lord of hosts: He is the King of Glory.
Unto which of the Angels said He at any time,
thou art my Son, this day I begotten thee?
Let all the Angels of God worship Him
Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive,
and received gifts for men, yea even for Thine enemies,
that the Lord God might dwell among them.
The Lord gave the word,
great was the company of the preachers.
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace,
and bring glad tidings of good things.
Romans, 10: 18
Their sound is gone out into all lands,
and their words unto the ends of the world.
Why do the nations so furiously rage together
and why do the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and His Anointed.
Let us break their bonds asunder,
and cast away their yokes from us.
He that dwelleth in Heaven shall laugh them to scorn:
the Lord shall have them in derision
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron;
Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Revelations 19:6 11:15, 19:16
Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His
Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Job 19: 25,26 1.Corinthians 15:20
I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.
And though worms destroy this body,
yet in my flesh shall I see God.
For now is Christ risen from the dead,
the first fruits of them that sleep.
Since by man came death,
by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For
as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
If God be for us, who can be against us?
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?
It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth?
It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is at the
right hand of God, who makes intercessions for us.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain,
and hath redeemed us to God by his blood,
to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength,
and honour, and glory, and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and
power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for
ever and ever.