George Frideric Handel: He was cut off out of the land of the living

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


He was cut off out of the land of the living

For the transgression of [Thy] people was He stricken.


The Music

Another tenor accompagnato plays out in this scene, with the words coming once again from Isaiah. This is one of the shortest sections in the whole oratorio, however the words are important for what’s to come. The long held string chords leave room for the tenor to get through the words, albeit in a very restrained manner. The harmony starts in B minor and then resolves into E major, lining up the next piece which is predominantly set in A major.  


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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You might also enjoy… Project Messiah


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