Hallelujah! Handel’s Messiah and the King James Bible
On April 13, 1742, a new oratorio by the famous composer George Frideric Handel debuted in a music hall in Dublin, Ireland. Handel’s Messiah has continued to be performed ever since, a perennially popular work that offers many concertgoers their most regular, and likely their most full-throated, exposure to the text of the King James Bible. Its librettist, Charles Jennens, assembled most of the words from the KJB, with one exception: lines from the psalms are taken from Miles Coverdale’s earlier translations in the Book of Common Prayer.
In celebration of April 13, we’ve assembled a new “Handel and the KJB” Flickr slideshow that combines a rare early surviving “word book” of Handel’s Messiah from the Folger Shakespeare Library with a look at modern sing-along holiday performances of the work, a tradition in many churches and communities. To hear excerpts from Messiah, with information on their KJB connections, please enjoy the Handel’s Messiah interactive feature on our brand-new Manifold Greatness website.
And yes, the premiere really was April 13. We even found this marker!
This entry was posted on April 13, 2011 by manifoldgreatness. It was filed under At the Folger, Influences, The KJB in History, The KJB Today and was tagged with anniversary, Authorized King James Version, Book of Common Prayer, Charles Jennens, choral music, Christmas, community, Dublin, Easter, George Frideric Handel, Handel, holiday, Ireland, King James Bible, Messiah, Miles Coverdale, oratorio, Psalms, sing-along.