Unlike most oratorios, the one written by Handel in 24 days does not have what kind of plotline?
Messiah differs from Handel’s other oratorios in that it does not contain an encompassing narrative, instead offering contemplation on different aspects of the Christian Messiah:
Messiah is not typical Handel oratorio; there are no named characters, as are usually found in Handel’s setting of the Old Testament stories, possibly to avoid charges of blasphemy. It is a meditation rather than a drama of personalities, lyrical in method; the narration of the story is carried on by implication, and there is no dialogue.
— Christopher Hogwood
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Handel is considered one of the greatest English composers of the Baroque period. Handel’s father, like Alexander Ashbrook’s in Coram Boy, did not support his son’s passion for music. Instead Handel’s father pressured his son to become a lawyer. Nevertheless Handel continued to study and became familiar with various styles of Italian and German music, which would be the foundation for his later pieces.
The music for Messiah was completed in 24 days of swift composition. Having received Jennens’s text some time after 10 July 1741, Handel began work on it on 22 August. His records show that he had completed Part I in outline by 28 August, Part II by 6 September and Part III by 12 September, followed by two days of “filling up” to produce the finished work on 14 September. The autograph score’s 259 pages show some signs of haste such as blots, scratchings-out, unfilled bars and other uncorrected errors, but according to the music scholar Richard Luckett the number of errors is remarkably small in a document of this length. The original manuscript for Messiah is now held in the British Library’s music collection.
Handel’s most famous oratorio, the Messiah was written in an astonishing 24 days. Handel wrote the piece in 1741 in his home in London. The texts for it were picked by Charles Jennens (1700-1773), who was a literary scholar and a member of the Church of England. The Messiah uses stories from the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah coming, to the Nativity, crucifixion of Jesus, Resurrection, and the Ascension. It is organized into three acts and has an operatic quality as it’s also organized into scenes. The piece was originally associated with Easter, even though it’s often thought of as a Christmas piece today.