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Georg Friedrich Händel: Israel In Egypt HWV 54: SATB

Score | Sheet Music & Songbooks
Subtitle Oratorio in three parts
Instrumentation Soloists, Mixed Choir and Orchestra
Composer Georg Friedrich Händel
Publisher Bärenreiter-Verlag
Series Bärenreiter Urtext

Israel in Egypt HWV 54
Oratorio in three parts
The versions of the 1739 and 1756–7 performances

The distinguishing feature of our new edition is that it reproduces Israel in Egypt in its complete three-part form: The Lamentation of the Israelites for the Death of Joseph, Exodus and Moses’ Song. It was in this form that the work was given at its London premiere on 4 April 1739.

Handel made extensive changes for the second performance. The reason is often said to have been the audience’s dissatisfaction with the work’s unusual design. However, he may possibly only have wanted to satisfy the whims of a soprano who felt under-represented with solo material.

Israel in Egypt is made up of a series of contrasting and artfully constructed choruses separated only by a few numbers for solo voice. Part 1 is entirely given to the chorus, Part 2 largely so, and Part 3, while containing most of the solo numbers, still gives ample room to the chorus. Handel shortened several choral numbers and may have taken the opportunity to alter the opening of Exodus. He also added five arias and a recitative for the soprano Elisabeth Duparc. These arias had already been written for insertion in other works of the 1730s, and two of them had been sung a short while previously in An Oratorio (1738). There is no libretto containing the changes introduced at the second performance. All the insert arias are reproduced in Appendix 1 of Volume I/14 of the complete edition.

The next performance of the piece did not occur until 1756. Handel now compiled an entirely new Part 1 containing a balanced proportion of choral and solo numbers by selecting items from Solomon, the Occasional Oratorio and the Peace Anthem. The two other parts retained their original form, apart from a few cuts in the choruses and the addition in Part 3 of the aria ’Hope, hope a pure and lasting treasure’ from the second version of Esther (for both 1756 and 1757) and the aria ’Toss’d from thought to thought’ from Alexander Balus (for 1757).

Our new edition makes it possible for the first time to perform Israel in Egypt in three different versions: that of the premiere,

Difficulty Intermediate-Advanced
Store Sheet Music & Songbooks
Product Format Score
Genre Sacred
Pages 728
ISMN 9790006495818
Edition Number BA4063
Catalog No. BA4063
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€ 735,80
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