Israel in Egypt

   An English oratorio composed by George Frideric Handel between 1 October and 1 November 1739. The libretto, probably by Charles Jennens (1700–1773), Handel’s Messiah librettist, sets the Exodus story in two parts, the second of which is the text of the Canticle of Moses (Exodus 15:1–21) with adaptations. The music is scored for strings, oboes, bassoons, trumpets, trombones, timpani, six vocal soloists, and double four-voiced choir and requires about one and one-half hours to perform. The work is remarkable among Handel’s oratorios for its close adherence to the Biblical text, its contemplative as opposed to narrative libretto, its frequent borrowings from 17th-century sacred works, and its preponderance of choral numbers.

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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