Music of the Week: December 8, 2023: G.F. Händel – For Unto Us A Child Is Born

Handel composed the Messiah, an English language oratorio, in 1741 within only 24 days! It is one of the most inspired works of our musical history. The composer concluded the manuscript with the letters “SDG”—Soli Deo Gloria which is Latin for “Glory to God alone.” 

The Messiah consists of three parts written upon a libretto based on verses from the Bible. Part 1 begins with Isaiah’s prophecy of Christ’s coming, his birth, and the annunciation to the shepherds by the angels, which is why Part 1 is also regarded as the Christmas portion of the oratorio.

The words of the chorus that forms our Music of the Week are from Isaiah 9:6, and they embrace some of the important titles of the office of Jesus the Christ:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: 
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: 
and his name shall be called: 
Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, 
the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

The live performance shown here by the Academy of Ancient Music and singers from VOCES8/Apollo 5 is one of tremendous speed, power, and precision that aptly expresses the invincible nature of the divine plan to manifest the Savior.

Related:

Academy of Ancient Music homepage

Homepage of the Apollo 5 vocal ensemble

Messiah by George Frideric Handel (Wikipedia)

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