George Frideric Handel: His Yoke is Easy

Messiah Part I


George Frideric Handel’s Messiah has remained one of the composer’s most beloved works. Incredibly, Handel completed this 260-page oratorio in just 24 days during the summer of 1741. The scriptural text was compiled by Charles Jennens, with the source being the King James Bible. The first performance of Messiah was on 13th April 1742, to celebrate Easter. 

Initially the oratorio garnered a lukewarm reception from audiences, however the work began to gain popularity over some years, with it now being the go-to work to perform during the Easter period. During this new Messiah exploration on Classicalexburns, blogs will be posted regularly to cover all of the pieces involved in making up this much-loved oratorio. 


The Lyrics

His yoke is easy,

His burden is light.

(Matthew 11:3)


The Music

Closing Part I of Messiah, the gospel of Matthew is continued. Using the full forces of the chorus, this energetic chorus piece is based on an intricate fugue that Handel builds from the beginning of the piece. Moving the main theme up a fourth and then using heavy decorations on the melismatic movement adds to the grandeur of this finale piece, which creates a celebratory feel. As the texture becomes richer the intensity grows and the chorus proclaim ‘His Burden is Light’ for the final time as the music resolves on a perfect cadence.  


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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You might also enjoy… Project Messiah


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