Thursday, July 21, 2016
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As a musical composition, Frederick Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" stands in a category by itself. There are few pieces of music that has the power to stir our hearts like that majestic chorus that even brought the King of England to his feet the first time he heard it. But before Frederick Handel wrote the "Hallelujah Chorus" and "The Messiah" oratorio of which it's a part, he wasn't having much of a hallelujah time. He was basically broke, depressed, and against a wall. Then someone asked him to write an oratorio, to be performed at this benefit concert on behalf of people who were in debtor's prison – locked up because they were too poor to pay their bills. There were 700 people who contributed to be at that premiere performance of "The Messiah" and the "Hallelujah Chorus" and 128 prisoners went free as a result!