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Handel: Messiah, How Beautiful Are The Feet

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: a theology, not a fetish…

Unlike many masterpieces, which have to undergo obscurity before they can be “rediscovered,” from its premiere on, Handel’s “Messiah” has never ceased to provoke fierce audience love, scholarly argument, and many latter-day traditions which have little to do Handel. Its status as a traditional Christmas work, for example, is a fairly recent development. In fact, the libretto covers a wide swath of the New Testament. “Messiah” never fell from the public eye—or, for that matter, from the eyes of other composers! After Handel’s death the work continued to grow, both in reputation and in actual physical size. If the version we just heard sounded a little odd, perhaps this is because it was not Handel’s original, but rather a later, expanded version orchestrated by none other than Mozart himself!

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