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~The Messiah (1)

       One bitterly cold winter of 1741, Handel received a package in his lodging. It contained a text made up of Scripture from his friend Charles Jennens:

       Comfort ye, comfort ye, My people, saith your God...Behold! A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Emmanuel, God with us...and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God...

       Excitedly, he read on. He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows...I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth...King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Hallelujah!

       Handel rushed to the piano with pencil in hand and began to write the music to the immortal Messiah. For two weeks, he labored incessantly. He saw no one and refused food and sleep.

       At last he finished the great oratorio. Tears were streaming down his face, as he said: I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself.

       The composition was first heard in Dublin where it was an overwhelming success. Then in London, where the King rose to his feet at the great Hallelujah Chorus, and the audience followed his example. Today, audiences all over the world still rise and remain standing during this Chorus.

       Later, George Frederick Handel became poor and blind. But he never permitted his misfortunes to overcome his spirit.




~The Messiah (2)

       When Jenny Lind was coming to this country for her first concert tour she expressed to the captain of the vessel a desire to behold a sunrise at sea. Accordingly, one cloudless morning, he had her called at early dawn.

       Silent and motionless she stood by his side upon the deck watching every change of shade and tint in the sky and their reflection upon the waking waters until the first golden rays shot up from the horizon. As the sun leaped up from the waves she burst into rapturous song, her deeply religious feeling expressed in the noble music of Handel.

       She was unconscious of the presence of the captain and a few sailors who stood near. In the ecstasy of her emotion she lifted her voice to an unseen Hearer, to whose majesty and glory she paid her tribute. Little wonder that Captain West in describing the scene exclaimed: No one will ever hear ‘I Know that My Redeemer Liveth’ sung as I heard it that morning.







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