Legend of the Angelic Inspiration of Handel’s “Messiah”

Angel Anecdotes Series #3–

george-frederick-handel-and-the-messiah[1]Tonight’s evening news ended with a montage of “Messiah” Sing-Alongs throughout the country. Despite this age of secularism and an atheist billboard proudly displayed in Times Square, crowds across the nation come together in growing numbers to sing the stirring strains of the Hallelujah Chorus. One woman called it “magical.”

Did George Fredric Handel have “help” writing one of the greatest pieces of music of all time? As a man in his mid-50’s Handel appeared to be well past his prime. A few years earlier he had suffered what was possibly a stroke, paralyzing his right hand. His ability to play a keyboard or conduct musicians had been severely impaired. He complained of blurry vision. He was a man in debt, discouraged, and depressed.

By 1741 he had fallen out of public favor. He had a single commission–to write a composition to benefit debtors in a Dublin prison. (A fate he himself had barely eluded). Handel found inspiration in a libretto received from a devout Anglican named Charles Jennens. Comprised almost entirely of King James Biblical Scripture, Jennens sought to highlight God’s interaction with mankind. Handel divided the work into three sections (1)–Old Testament prophecies (2) The Life of Christ (3) Revelation’s End Times triumph over death and evil.

Handel sequestered himself three weeks, caught in the grip of creative forces. Servants reported hearing him crying and moaning, rarely eating. He talked of having visions and is quoted saying–

singing angelsI did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself seated on His throne, with his Company of Angels.”

After only twenty four days he emerged with a complex choral and orchestral masterpiece that would stir the souls of listeners for centuries to come. Listen to this performance and judge for yourself if this intricate composition could be heaven inspired:

Proceeds from the first concert freed 142 men from debtors prison. At a later performance, King George II of England himself stood to the rousing Hallelujah Chorus, thus beginning a tradition that has lasted three hundred years.

Angels are God’s messengers. Handel’s Messiah is a Message of Hope for the Ages.

Blessings to all–

Dana Taylor

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