Handel's baptismal registration 1685
(Marienbibliothek in Halle)
oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most
frequently performed choral works in Western music.

Handel's reputation in England, where he had lived since 1713, had been established
through his compositions of Italian opera. He turned to English oratorio in the 1730s, in
response to changes in public taste; Messiah was his sixth work in this genre. Although
its structure resembles that of conventional opera, it is not in dramatic form; there are
no impersonations of characters and very little direct speech. Instead, Jennens's text is
an extended reflection on Jesus Christ as Messiah, moving from the prophetic phrases
of Isaiah and others, through the Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection of Christ to his
ultimate glorification in heaven.

Handel wrote Messiah for modest vocal and instrumental forces, with optional settings
for many of the individual numbers. In the years after his death, the work was adapted
for performance on a much larger scale, with giant orchestras and choirs. In other
efforts to update it, its orchestration was revised and amplified by (among others)
Mozart. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the trend has been towards
authenticity; most contemporary performances show a greater fidelity towards Handel's
original intentions, although "big Messiah" productions continue to be mounted. A near-
complete version was issued on 78 rpm discs in 1928; since then the work has been
recorded many times.

The music for Messiah was completed in 24 days of swift composition. Having
received Charles Jennens's text some time after 10 July 1741, Handel began work on it
on 22 August. His records show that he had completed Part I in outline by 28 August,
Part II by 6 September and Part III by 12 September, followed by two days of "filling
up" to produce the finished work on 14 September. The autograph score's 259 pages
show some signs of haste such as blots, scratchings-out, unfilled bars and other
uncorrected errors, but according to the music scholar Richard Luckett the number of
errors is remarkably small in a document of this length.

At the end of his manuscript Handel wrote the letters "SDG"—Soli Deo Gloria, "To God
alone the glory". This inscription, taken with the speed of composition, has encouraged
belief in the apocryphal story that Handel wrote the music in a fervour of divine
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Quiz #380 Results
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5th occasional photoquiz survey.
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10th occasional photoquiz survey.
Quiz #380 - December 23, 2012
1.  What is written on the four cards in the back row?
2.  Who is this group?
3. What are they doing?
Happy Holidays to All Our Fans from Andy and Colleen
How Marcelle Solved the Puzzle
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Milene Rawlinson                Jackie McCarty
Ben Truwe                Charlie Wayne
Mary Fraser                Jon Edens
Daniel E. Jolley                Nelsen Spickard
Patty Kiker                Carol Farrant
Gus Marsh                Marilyn Hamill
Marcelle Comeau                Daniel E. Jolley
Tony Knapp               Jim Kiser
Judy Pfaff                 Dennis Brann
Margaret Paxton                Rebecca Bare
Sally Garrison                Peter Norton
Skip Murray                Arthur Hartwell
Margaret Waterman                Debbie Sterbinsky
Venita Wilson                Evan Hindman
I remember seeing this video a couple years ago. It's great! Thanks for posting it.
And thank you for all the work you put into the puzzles. I appreciate it a lot.
Charlie Wayne
Why this became associated with Christmas, when it was first performed in April is a
wonder.  Of course, Part I is the virgin birth, but part II with this chorus is about
Jesus's passion and death and resurrection.
Nelsen Spickard
N. B. Well there are things that even I as Quizmaster General, do not understand.
:-) Incidentally, Jesus was probably born in the spring, not in December.  
Shepherds don't watch their flocks by night in the winter. - Q Gen.
Of course we KNOW that, but transforming Mithrian and other Solstice practices into
Christ's birthday was convenient historical revisionist practices at their best.  
Nelsen Spickard
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Festivus, Happy Hannukah, , Happy
Kwanzaa, Merry Saturnalia, Merry Winter Solstice and Happy New Baktun 14,
Colleen and Andy! (I think I covered everything.) Thank you for a fun quiz today and
the accompanying video. I have to admit I was stumped and resorted to Tin Eye.
Patty Kiker
Absolutely charming!  They are the Silent Monks performing the Hallelujah Chorus.  
The four signs in the back read:  hal, le, lu and jah.

PS.  They are kids!  I just put a performance on my Facebook page.

Okay.  So now I've e-mailed the you-tube video to everyone I know who isn't on
Carol Farrant
The photo (from a youtube video) shows the South Kitsap High School Concert Choir
portraying 'Silent Monks' singing Hallelujah. The four cards in the back row say HAL
LE LU JAH. Cute.
Daniel Jolley
Googled images for "14 monks on a stage." Flipped through the images
and found the picture on page 17. Watched the video and found it to be very
creative and fun to watch. I have always liked that particular piece and was impressed
with how well the students did in keeping in sync. Great quiz for this time of year!
Tony Knapp
I love this performance.  I see other groups have been doing it too. I believe this
group was the first to perform it in this manner.
Judy Pfaff
One of my friends posted the video of the monks on Facebook, so I looked up
monks and Hallelujah on You Tube.
Rebecca Bare
Recognized this "singing" group right away. This is one of the funniest videos I've
ever seen. Still remember the first time a friend shared it with me. A great holiday
Sally Garrison
Thank you for reminding me of this clever rendition of Frederic Handel's most
recognized piece from The Messiah, "The Hallelujah Chorus";. We had received
several forwards of this in years past but not this year. I guess the "Flash Mobs"
singing at various malls are more interesting now.
Venita Wilson
1.  Ha Le Lu Jah
2.  The Silent Monks
Performance by the South Kitsap High School
Port Orchard, WA
3.  "Singing" the Hallelujah Chorus
Just by chance, I had seen a video of this number on the internet in
the last few days but had not really paid attention to the ‘who and
where’ so I searched on the keywords ‘silent monks singing’ .

Turned out there are a number of versions of this on YouTube.

1. This first one I believe is the one from which Colleen took the
photo to post, it is a group of high school students (comparing the
heights of the ‘monks’ in the video to those in the photo’). Of
course, only the first letter of each word in the front row has been
kept – the rest has been photo shopped out!

2. When I watched this second video, which seemed more serious, I
wondered, wait – is this for real? It is performed in the First Baptist
Church, Brinkley, Arkansas, and they seem quite serious. About the
introduction and their performance.

3. So, I did a search and found this third video, from a performance
in Molalla, Oregon which convinced me this was intended to be a
comedy skit. This performance is hilarious.

Great fun! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Marcelle Comeau
Comments from Our Readers
Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus
Messiah (HWV 56) is an English-language
oratorio composed in 1741 by George
Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text
compiled by Charles Jennens from the
King James Bible, and from the Psalms
included with the Book of Common
Prayer (which are worded slightly
differently from their King James
counterparts). It was first performed in
Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its
London premiere nearly a year later. After
an initially modest public reception, the
inspiration in which, as he wrote the
"Hallelujah" chorus, "he saw all heaven
before him". In fact, as Burrows points
out, many of Handel's operas, of
comparable length and structure to
Messiah, were composed within similar
timescales between theatrical seasons. The
effort of writing so much music in so
short a time was not unusual for Handel
and his contemporaries; Handel
commenced his next oratorio, Samson,
within a week of finishing Messiah, and
completed his draft of this new work in a
month. In accordance with his frequent
The final bars of the "Hallelujah"
chorus, from Handel's manuscript
practice when writing new works, Handel adapted existing compositions for use in
Messiah, in this case drawing on two recently completed Italian duets and one written
twenty years previously. Thus, Se tu non lasci amore from 1722 became the basis of
"O Death, where is thy sting?"; "His yoke is easy" and "And he shall purify" were drawn
from Quel fior che alla'ride (July 1741), "Unto us a child is born" and "All we like
sheep" from Nò, di voi non vo' fidarmi (July 1741). Handel's instrumentation in the
score is often imprecise, again in line with contemporary convention, where the use of
certain instruments and combinations was assumed and did not need to be written
down by the composer; later copyists would fill in the details.

Before the first performance Handel made numerous revisions to his manuscript score,
in part to match the forces available for the 1742 Dublin premiere; it is probable that his
originally conceived version of the work was not performed in his lifetime. Between
1742 and 1754 he continued to revise and recompose individual movements, sometimes
to suit the requirements of particular singers. The first published score of Messiah was
issued in 1767, eight years after Handel's death, though this was based on relatively
early manuscripts and included none of Handel's later revisions.
The Messiah
George Frideric Handel (German: Georg
Friedrich Händel; pronounced [ˈhɛndəl]) (23
February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-
born British Baroque composer, famous for his
operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos.
Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent
to music. He received critical musical training in
Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in
London (1712) and becoming a naturalised
British subject in 1727.[1] By then he was
strongly influenced by the great composers of
the Italian Baroque and the middle-German
polyphonic choral tradition.

Within 15 years, Handel, a dramatic genius,
George Friderick Handel
started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian
opera, but the public came to hear the vocal bravura of the soloists rather than the
music. In 1737 he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively and
addressed the middle class. As Alexander's Feast (1736) was well received, Handel
made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he
never performed an Italian opera again. Handel was only partly successful with his
performances of English Oratorio on mythical and biblical themes, but when he
arranged a performance of Messiah to benefit the Foundling Hospital (1750) the critique
ended. The pathos of Handel's oratorios is an ethical one. They are hallowed not by
liturgical dignity but by the moral ideals of humanity. Almost blind, and having lived in
England for almost 50 years, he died a respected and rich man.

Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, with works such as
Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks and Messiah remaining popular. Handel
composed more than 40 operas in over 30 years, and since the late 1960s, with the
revival of baroque music and original instrumentation, interest in Handel's operas has
grown. His operas contain remarkable
human characterisation—especially for a
composer not known for his love affairs.