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The First Performance of Handel's "Messiah"

Handel's Messiah was composed in less than a month. It was, in fact, begun on August 22, 1741, and completed September 14. It was not performed, however, until the spring of the following year, when Handel went to Ireland. The first performance was for charitable purposes, and was given in Dublin, April 13, 1742. A contemporary newspaper report is here presented—from Faulkner's Journal—of that most interesting occasion:
 
"On Tuesday last Mr. Handel's Sacred Grand Oratorio, The Messiah, was performed in the New Musick Hall in Fishamble Street; the best Judges allow it to be the most finished piece of Musick. Words are wanting to express the exquisite Delight it afforded to the admiring crowded Audience. The Sublime, the Grand and the Tender, adapted to the most elevated, majestick and moving words, conspired to transport and charm the ravished Heart and Ear. It is but Justice to Mr. Handel that the World should know he generously gave the Money arising from this Grand Performance, to be equally shared by the Society for relieving Prisoners, the Charitable Infirmary, and Mercer's Hospital, for which they will ever gratefully remember his Name; and that the Gentlemen of the two Choirs, Mr. Dubourg, Mrs. Avolio and Mrs. Cribber, who all performed their Parts to Admiration, acted also on the same disinterested Principle, satisfied with the deserved Applause of the Publick, and the conscious Pleasure of promoting such useful and extensive Charity. There were above 700 People in the Room, and the Sum collected for the Noble and Pious Charity amounted to about £400, out of which £127 goes to each of the three great and pious Charities."
 
 
 
 
 

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