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Music – Messiah Handel

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A major theme has been how a musician considers the expectations of their audience. In composing Messiah, Handel faced the challenging task of impressing different groups of listeners, most importantly critics who looked for innovation and sophistication, and an audience comprised of individuals with varied musical backgrounds and differing expectations about what a musical performance should be (entertaining? memorable? touching on an important religious or political theme?). This balancing act is familiar to any artist working in a market economy. They must balance their own personal artistic goals with audience expectations, the expectations of critics, and the expectations of institutions (e.g. performance venues, record labels, etc.). Think about this balancing act and:
Choose a specific piece from Messiah and describe how Handel composed with his audience in mind. You should cite specific musical features as well as the social/cultural background of his original listeners in Dublin.


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