David Hill, conductor
The Occasional Oratorio (HWV 62) is an oratorio by George Frideric Handel, based upon a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton after the poetry of John Milton and Edmund Spenser. Handel composed the Occasional Oratorio hastily in January and February 1745 and premiered it immediately on 14 February 1745 with Willem de Fesch, Élisabeth Duparc, Elisabetta de Gambarini, John Beard (tenor), and Thomas Reinhold at Royal Opera House. It contains 44 movements split over three parts. The famous chorus “Prepare the Hymn” (a paraphrase of Psalm 81:1-2) is the 26th movement and appears in the second part. The second minuet from the Music for the Royal Fireworks was reused from this oratorio.
– Wikipedia entry
Preconcert talk at 6:30 PM
Ellen T. Harris: Handel’s Occasional Oratorio: Witnessing the Great Rebellion of 1745 with Milton’s Psalms
Ellen T. Harris is Professor Emeritus at MIT in Music and Theater Arts. Her research has focused largely on the music of Handel. Her books include the award-winning George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends (Norton, 2014) and Handel as Orpheus: Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas (Harvard, 2001). She was elected a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society (2016), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1998) and made an Honorary Member of the American Musicological Society (2011). For the 2013-14 academic year she was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, and in 2016, a Visiting Professor at The Juilliard School. She has performed twice with John Williams and the Boston Pops and sung the National Anthem at Fenway Park.