George Frideric Handel's Messiah Analysis

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Handel’s “Messiah” is a beautiful piece of music set to biblical literature. Today most people recognize the “Messiah” due to its presence during the holiday season. It is currently used to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. However, in the 18th century, it was not performed during the holiday season like it is today in the twenty-first century. The “Messiah,” written in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, is full of scriptural text. Specifically, “Pifa(13), Recitative(14a), Accompagnato(14b), Recitative(15), and Accompagnato(16),” that includes text from the book of Luke, chapter two, verses eight through fourteen. George Frideric Handel, 1685-1759, was born in Halle, Germany and died in London (Bardon). Handel is a German composer who was …show more content…
Similar to text painting, recitative can have the same effect on a listener as they center their attention on the lyrics. Text painting could have more complex harmonies and rhythms to illustrate the text, however, recitative is strictly simple in its musical aspect and is more focused on the actual literature (Greene). Like Harris mentions in the “James Opera Encyclopedia,” recitative is a speech like style that enhances the sound of the voice. This is important for this specific text from the book of Luke, chapter two, verses eight through fourteen. This narrative illustrates the angel describing the message to the shepherds which is an exciting moment for them to witness. The shepherds were not people that would not normally hear this news which is why it sticks out even more that the angel tell them the message. Following the recitative sections, accompagnato, were the more melodic lines that were meant to elaborate what was just sung in the recitative section. It was almost like it was the ornamented version of the recitative. This style of recitative followed by an accompagnato became quite popular as it emphasized the

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