George Frideric Handel: Behold, And See If There Be Any Sorrow

Messiah Part II


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


Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow.


(Lamentations 1:12)


The Music

This short arioso is typically sung by the solo tenor. The text is taken from the Book of Lamentations, which bears ties with Good Friday and the general Easter period. Set in E minor, the text reflects Jesus and Mary lamenting over the recent destruction of Jerusalem. The accompaniment is full of pauses so that the voice can be showcased. The piece follows Handel’s typical style, with the third beat proving to be the most important. This short piece follows straight into the next scene. 

Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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You might also enjoy… Project Messiah


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