Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Floods Stood Upright

Last night I had the opportunity to hear a live performance of one of my very favorite choral works, Handel's Israel in Egypt (1739).  The words of the oratorio are taken from the Book of Exodus, telling the story of the Israelites held in slavery in Egypt and their eventual deliverance, set to a brilliant score by Handel. 

Just about the only drawback to the performance was that several of the choruses were omitted, for whatever reason.  I missed them!  One of them is presented here, from Part Two - the words from Exodus 15:8, referring to the parting of the Red Sea.

And with the blast of thy nostrils, the waters were gathered together.
The floods stood upright as an heap.
The depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.

Each of these three sentences is set to a unique musical phrase, and in true Handelian fashion, they are then played off against one another, cavorting and merging and overlapping.

If you don't know Israel in Egypt, you should!  The rest of it can be found on YouTube as well.

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