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A Memorable List: Handel’s “Israel in Egypt” And The Ten Plagues

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: Bugs, frogs, and darkness, oh my!

The book of Exodus includes a couple of the Hebrew scriptures more memorable lists.

The ten plagues said to have been the scourge of Egypt are the story’s impetus for the release of the Hebrew slaves from bondage and are a central focus of Handel’s oratorio “Israel in Egypt.”

A little later in the book, Moses, who brought down those plagues on the Egyptians, reveals another top 10 list. This time it’s more of a celestial memo handed down to show the freed Hebrews how to live: the Ten Commandments.

And speaking of ancient history, for years historians believed that the oldest audio recording was that of a performance of music from Israel in Egypt.

The recording was of several thousand singers performing “Moses and the Children of Israel” in the Crystal Palace Handel Festival of 1888, recorded by American George Gouraud on one of Thomas Edison’s yellow paraffin cylinders, or wax cylinders.

Since then, however, a recording made by the inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, has been discovered that predates Gouraud’s.

Music Heard On This Episode

George Frideric Handel: Israel in Egypt: Conclusion
Monteverdi Orchestra and Choir; John Eliot Gardiner, cond. — Israel in Egypt (Erato, 1992)
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album cover
George Frideric Handel: Israel in Egypt: Conclusion
Monteverdi Orchestra and Choir; John Eliot Gardiner, cond. — Israel in Egypt (Erato, 1992)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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