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Iona’s Song of the Week - No 14

Updated: 5 days ago

This weeks “Song of the Week” kinda picked itself!

It comes from an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frederic Handle (born in Halle in Brandenburg-Prussia, modern Germany in 1685, he then took up permanent residence in London in 1712, and became a naturalised British subject in 1727.)

The text was compiled from the King James Bible and the Coverdale Psalter by Charles Jennens. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music!

This piece is number 44 (Scene 7) of a total of 53 in the overall composition, and is the last piece of the middle of three parts. The song is not the climactic chorus of the work, although one cannot escape its "contagious enthusiasm". It builds from a deceptively light orchestral opening, through a short, unison cantus firmus passage on the words "For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth", to the reappearance of the long-silent trumpets at "And He shall reign for ever and ever". Commentators have noted that the musical line for this third subject is based on Wachet auf, Philipp Nicolai's popular Lutheran chorale.

I guess that, by now, y’all know what you are in for, and so, on Easter Sunday 2024, I give you:

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