A performer's analysis of the bass roles in selected Old Testament narrative English oratorios of George Frideric Handel
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SubjectHandel, George Frideric, 1685-1759. Oratorios--Excerpts
Oratorios--Analysis and appreciation
This document facilitates the study of the bass roles, including the bass arias and recitatives that are in the Old Testament English oratorios of George Frideric Handel. This study is largely dependent upon the Chrysander editions of the oratorios, however both the Bärenreiter and Novello editions are consulted where available. This work may serve as a reference for bass soloists, or vocal pedagogues in selecting bass oratorio arias and recitatives, and in study for preparation of a bass role in one or more of the selected oratorios. Ten oratorios were selected for this study, based on their dramatic emphasis, Handel's more mature compositional style, and the use of the English language. While all arias are discussed, recitatives were selected on the basis that they stand-alone and are not in dialogue with another character. The study is limited to ten of Handel's Old Testament English oratorios: Esther (1718-20 version and 1732 revision), Deborah (1733), Athalia (1733), Saul (1738), Samson (1741), Joseph and His Brethren (1743), Belshazzar (1744), Joshua (1747), Solomon (1748), and Jephtha (1751). The study in concerned with the dramatic function of each aria and recitative within the plot of the oratorio, as well as the range, tessitura, literary rhyme scheme (if applicable), and tonal structure of each aria and recitative. Compositional devices that are used in melodic construction, level of difficulty, and maturity of voice needed for performance will be also be discussed for each aria and recitative. Chapter 1 of the study is the introduction to the dissertation, including objectives, delimitations, need for study, basic assumptions, and related literature. Chapter 2 discusses Handel's compositional development from Germany, while in Italy, and finally in England. Chapter 3 is concerned with a historical overview of the genre of oratorio. Chapter 4 focuses on the bass roles and the arias and recitatives within the selected oratorios. Chapter 5 concludes the dissertation, makes observations and directs for further study.