Handel's Messiah

(Written in Beethoven's hand)

Beethoven so admired Handel's work that he wrote it out so as to get the "feeling of its intricacies" and "to unravel its complexities". Handel exerted considerable influence on Beethoven at various stages of his career. With this transcription of Handel's vocal fugue "And With His Stripes" from The Messiah, Beethoven sought to learn from the older composers fuguel techniques. Many of Beethoven's fugues are strongly influenced by Handel, with their long, sectional themes and their occasional unconventional procedures.

George Frederick Handel

(1685-1759) composed his greatest masterpiece The Messiah in 1741. He received an invitation from Dublin, Ireland to perform; and it was in that city, on April 13, 1742, that The Messiah was first publicly performed. It was received with tremendous enthusiasm. However the reception in London was somewhat cold and only gradually did it win its way back to popularity. The last performance of The Messiah in which Handel participated was in 1759.

Ludwig Van Beethoven

(1770 -1827) was reputed to have picked up Handel's Messiah with these words, "Here is a different fellow" and proceeded to play the most interesting looking passages. On another occasion he is said to have remarked, "Handel is the greatest composer that ever lived", and spoke of the oratorio as having "sublimity of language". The music of Messiah so permeated Beethoven's being that on his deathbed he is reputed to have quoted from The Messiah stating that if there were a physician that could help him "His name shall be called Wonderful".