Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Passion by Handel

Yes, Handel wrote a couple of Passions. They are early works. One of them is a St John Passion. It is quite a good work, but not enough for the chorus, I think.

Then there is the Brockes Passion. Brockes is the person who wrote the libretto based on John's gospel, and it was used by several composers. The Bach St John Passion uses the Brockes text.

The Handel Brockes Passion still does not have quite enough for the chorus ( I think), but the choral writing is very good. The are choruses that sound distinctively like Handel - the opening chorus is a great piece. The work is different from Bach - Handel gets Jesus to sing a duet with his mother. It is interesting to see the way Handel sets the Weg, weg chorus.

This Brockes Passion will be performed in Auckland (first ever NZ performance) at Pitt St Methodist Church on April 10.

Bach knew the Handel work, and there is a version in Bach's handwriting.

Handel re-used some of the music in Oratorios which he wrote in England - Deborah and Esther..

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