George Frideric Handel: Let Us Break Their Bonds Asunder

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


Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

(Psalm 2:3)


The Music

The choir continues the theme from the previous Air, with Handel staying in C major to aid the transition. The constant entry of voices creates quite a chaotic opening which is brought back together as the unison passages break free. The voices are split into high and low sides as Handel writes bright melismatic phrases across the board. The fast succession of entries shows the voices breaking their bonds as the words from Psalm 2:3 suggest.


Ⓒ Alex Burns

Happy Reading!

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You might also enjoy… Project Messiah


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