Jephtha is Handel’s last oratorio. Handel had to break off from composing several times because of his increasing blindness in 1751. The first performance at the Covent Garden Theatre in February 1752 was the last performance he conducted before he went completely blind.
In Jephtha, Handel succeeded in achieving the perfect fusion between a biblical plot and the spirit of classical tragedy. With great intensity and dramatic expression he highlighted in particular the fates of Jephtha and Iphis, thereby portraying convincing and complex characters.
The chorus How Dark, O Lord, are Thy Decrees at the end of part two is of crucial importance in the work and is regarded as the dramatic high point of the oratorio.
The vocal score is based on volume I/30 of the Halle Handel Edition (BA 4014), which contains the complete critical version of the music of the oratorio for the first time. It contains a detailed foreword in German and English, and a clear straightforward Piano reduction.