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Handel Messiah Quiz

See how many questions you can get right!


Please write your answers on a piece of paper and then click the link at the bottom of this page to see how many you got right!


 1. A performance of Handel's "Messiah" lasts about 2 1/2 hours. Amazingly, Handel composed the entire oratorio in only:

a.47 days   b.3 months   c.24 days   d.1 week


2Until Wagner's work in the 19th century, virtually all opera and oratorio texts were written by someone other than the composer. For "Messiah", Handel set to music the text selected by this man.

a.Antonio Vivaldi    b.Moliere   c.John Milton  d.Charles Jennens


3. "Messiah" is presented in three parts. Part I (the Christmas portion) starts with the prophecy and coming of Christ. Part II (the Easter portion) describes the passion and death of Christ. What is the theme of Part III?

a.Persecution of the early church  b. Promise of eternal life for believers  c.Paul's travels  d. Acts of faith by early believers


4. Throughout his life, Handel refused to accept any money from the performances of "Messiah". He refused because:

a. He wanted the performers to get all the proceeds  b.He wanted the librettest to get the money  c.He felt that he did not deserve it  d. He wanted the money to go to the Church


5Although they never met, Handel and Bach are both giants of Baroque music. Handel's oratorios have more changes in texture than those of Bach and the ____________ is more prominently featured in Handelian oratorios.

a. orchestra b.cambiata  d.chorus


6. Typical Baroque musical idioms are used by Handel throughout "Messiah". These include ritornello form, basso continuo, terraced dynamics and:

a.crescendo and decrescendo  b.sonata-allegro form  c. simple, easily sung melodies  d.word painting


7. "Messiah" is the exception to the definition of oratorio because it has no:

a.scenary or costumes  b.plot or characters  c.acts or scenes  d.spoken narrative or dialogue


8. "Messiah" premiered in 1742 in the city of:

a.Dublin  b.Dresden  c.London  d.Edinburgh


9.Because of the excitement surrounding the anticipated premier of "Messiah", audience members were asked for certain considerations. In order to increase the capacity of the concert hall, men were asked to leave their dress swords at home and women were asked to:

a. not bring large fans  b.not wear hoop skirts  c.leave their children at home  d.not wear large hats


10. Although the premier was very successful, "Messiah" received a poor reception in London because of religious objections to:

a.the use of a sacred text in a theatre  b.violations of the Council of Trent  c. the treatment of Christ's birth in the story  d. the use of secular music for a sacred text


11. "Messiah" is Handel's only English oratorio that uses text from:

a. The Old and New Testaments  b.John Milton's 'Paradise lost'  c.John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress'  d.The Apocrypha


12. In Handel's day, the orchestra and chorus for "Messiah" were significantly smaller than those with which we are used to seeing it performed today. The chorus was only 20 singers and they were:

a.usually amateurs  b.all male  c.all female  d.mixed chorus


13. In the Baroque period, sacred and secular music were very similar in style. "For Unto Us a Child is Born", the twelfth movement of "Messiah", derives much of it's melodic content from:

a.An Italian opera by Bach  b.An English aria by Purcell  c.A popular drinking song  d.An Italian love due by Handel


14. Why do most audiences stand when the "Hallelujah Chorus" is performed?

a. To show respect for God  b.The king stood when he heard it  c.Handel wrote it into the music  d.It is part of the intermission


15. Although born and reared in Halle, upper Saxony, Handel is considered to be the premier composer of England. Upon his death in 1759, over 3,000 mourners attended his funeral which was held in this famous place.

a.St Marks Cathedral  b.Westminster Abbey  c.Covent Garden  d.St Paul's Cathedral


Please click here for the answers!