Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah (Handel)

The Hallelujah Chorus is perhaps the most famous piece of choral music in the repertoire and one highlight among many in Handelís most popular oratorio, The Messiah.

Handel was at a low ebb in August 1741, having recently suffered a small stroke, but was inspired by Jennensí new libretto and is supposed to have composed the whole of The Messiah in the incredibly short period of 21 days.

The oratorio was first performed at Nealeís Music Hall in Dublin on 13th April 1742, Handel leading from the harpsichord. On Handelís return to England, King George II attended a performance and was moved to rise to his feet on first hearing the Hallelujah Chorus, a custom which is still in vogue today. 

Handelís considered The Messiah Ďan entertainmentí and it was nine years before it was performed in a sacred setting. His oratorio style borrows elements from opera, cantata, concerto and opera and it perhaps this eclecticism that make this glorious work sound as fresh today as ever.