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Donald Macleod and his guest Ruth Smith explore Handel's Messiah, revealing the secrets of its origins and conception and dispelling the myths that still surround it.

Donald Macleod and his guest Ruth Smith tell the real story behind the origins of one of the most popular masterpieces ever composed.

In 1741 Handel packed his bags and left London for Dublin, where he spent nearly nine months writing and performing in the city. The main work that he premiered there was a new oratorio which proved to be one of the landmarks of his career. Across the week we hear the whole of Handel’s Messiah, uncover the secrets of its origins and dispel the myths that still surround it.

In today’s programme Donald and Ruth paint a picture of Handel’s life in London as he prepared to leave for Ireland, examining the way in which the texts and ideas of Messiah respond to the social and intellectual turbulence of the time.

Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus
Huddersfield Choral Society
Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Malcolm Sargent, conductor

Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus
Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
The Academy of Ancient Music
Simon Preston, conductor
Christopher Hogwood, director

Ode for St Cecilia’s Day (Final movement)
Carolyn Sampson, soprano
Dunedin Consort
Polish Radio Choir
John Butt, director

Messiah: Part One (excerpts)
Anthony Rolfe Johnson, tenor
Monteverdi Choir
English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, director

Messiah: Part One (excerpts)
Matthew Brook, bass
Annie Gill, contralto
Dunedin Consort and Players
John Butt, director

Israel in Egypt
He sent a thick darkness
He smote the first born of Egypt
But as for His people
The Sixteen
The Symphony of Harmony and Invention
Harry Christophers, conductor

Produced in Cardiff by Amelia Parker

59 minutes

Music Played

  • George Frideric Handel

    Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus

    Choir: Huddersfield Choral Society. Orchestra: Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Malcolm Sargent.
    • Dutton 2CDEA5010.
    • Dutton.
    • 10.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus

    Choir: Christ Church Cathedral Oxford Choir. Ensemble: Academy of Ancient Music. Conductor: Christopher Hogwood.
    • L'Oiseau Lyre 430 489-2.
    • L'Oiseau Lyre.
    • 14.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Ode for St Cecilia's Day (As from the power of sacred lays)

    Singer: Carolyn Sampson. Ensemble: Dunedin Consort. Choir: Polish Radio Chorus Krakow. Conductor: John Butt.
    • LINN CKD 578.
    • LINN.
    • 15.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Messiah: Part 1 (extracts)

    Choir: Monteverdi Choir. Singer: Anthony Rolfe Johnson. Orchestra: English Baroque Soloists. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • PHILIPS 434 297-2.
    • PHILIPS.
    • 1.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Messiah: Part 1 (extracts)

    Ensemble: Dunedin Consort. Singer: Matthew Brooke. Singer: Annie Gill. Ensemble: Dunedin Players. Conductor: John Butt.
    • LINN RECORDS : LINN-CKD285.
    • LINN RECORDS.
    • 5.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Israel in Egypt: Part 1 (extracts)

    Choir: The Sixteen. Orchestra: Symphony of Harmony and Invention. Conductor: Harry Christophers.
    • Coro : COR16011.
    • Coro.
    • 8.

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