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In England, oratorios were often performed at benefit concerts. Large-scale vocal works could draw large crowds, and the pious messages they contained were aimed at drawing forth donations for worthy causes. Some English oratorios were imported to Vienna and translated to be used for similar purposes. The aristocratic patron Baron Gottfried von Swieten was especially active in commissioning arrangements of oratorios for his "Composer's Society" to raise money for retired musicians. These concerts were not always successful, so Swieten occasionally commissioned oratorio arrangements for select private audiences.

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