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  • Writer's pictureDavid Winkler

The Hallelujah Chorus

Last month, I presented a short history of Handel's "Messiah." The most famous piece in this most wonderful oratorio is the "Hallelujah Chorus," which comes at the end of Part II. The text is taken from two passages in the book of Revelation: And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, 'Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.' (Rev. 19:6)

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." (Rev. 11:15)

The phrase "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" comes from Revelation 19:16, and also is found in I Timothy 6:15.

There is a tradition of the audience standing when the "Hallelujah Chorus" is sung. It's said that this began when, during the first London performance of the oratorio, the Prince of Wales (who later became King George III) rose to his feet as the "Hallelujah Chorus" began. Some skeptical historians have said that the prince was just stretching his legs towards the end of a long performance, but I like to think that he was standing to acknowledge the one true "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."

Several years back, I put together an updated orchestration for the "Hallelujah," designed to accommodate the instrumentation of a typical church orchestra. I also did a version in C major, transposed down a whole step from the original, which makes it a little easier for the sopranos and tenors in the choir! Information on this arrangement (both the choral parts and the orchestration) can be found at this link.


I recently published five new arrangements of patriotic favorites, scored for brass quintet or sextet, with percussion. We'll be using these around July 4 this year with a group I conduct here in Austin.

Check out this link for details.

CLEARANCE SALE - Last month, I sent out a list of various music which I would like to clear out of my office. Please write me if you would like me to send you a list of what's for sale.


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