Alternatives to Messiah: A Survey of Handel Oratorios

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On today’s Choral Mix, we showcase four of Handel’s great oratorios that aren’t Messiah. We have new releases of Handel from the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and The Sixteen, a classic recording from John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi Choir, and this week’s Choral Story.

Most composers die before they ever get much recognition. But not Georg Friedrich Handel. He was a superstar in his time and in ours – thanks in large part to his oratorios.

Oratorios retell great stories – usually from the Bible or from mythology – with music. And of the 29 that he wrote, Handel’s most famous oratorio is Messiah

Today’s show, though, is about some of the other oratorios. We’re playing the ones that aren’t so well known or performed so often: Israel in Egypt, Solomon, Saul and Alexander’s Feast.



Handel/Israel in Egypt/Orchestra and Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Julian Wachner

But as for his people

He Deliver’d the poor that cried



Handel/Solomon/RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie Fur Alte Musik Berlin, Daniel Reuss

With pious heart, and holy tongue

From the censer curling rise

Praise the Lord with harp and tongue!



Handel/ Saul/ The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Preserve him for the glory

Oh, fatal consequence

Mourn, Israel, mourn thy beauty lost



Handel/Alexander’s Feast/Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner

The many rend the skies with loud applause

At Last Divine Cecilia came

Let Old Timotheus yield the prize