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Messiah, HWV56

composed between 22 August and 14 September 1741; first performed in the Fishamble Street Music Hall in Dublin on 13 April 1742

The keyboard arrangement of the Overture to Messiah (Smith, catalogue, 284, No 17) is found in a collection of Handel’s Overtures published by John Walsh in 1743 and thought to have been arranged by Walsh or by one of his editors. Handel is known to have performed arrangements of his own works on the harpsichord and some of these transcriptions of his overtures from oratorios and operas survive in his own hand. John Walsh published 60 arrangements of Handel’s overtures in a single book in the 1750s and they are of varying quality as they are transcribed by different people.

Walsh’s publications clearly indicates that this keyboard arrangement is called an ‘Overture’ rather than a ‘Sinfony’ which is found in Handel’s autograph copy and conveyed through manuscript copies of Messiah and drew upon the success of the triumphant premiere of Messiah at the Great Music Hall on Fishamble Street.

from notes by Bridget Cunningham © 2017


Handel: Handel in Ireland, Vol. 1
SIGCD478Download only


Part 1 No 01: Overture

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD478 track 1

Part 1 No 1: Overture
Recording date
Recording venue
Royal College of Music, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Steve Harrington & Mike Hatch
Hyperion usage
  1. Hyperion sampler - March 2017 (HYP201703)
    Disc 1 Track 13
    Release date: March 2017
    Download-only sampler
  2. Handel: Handel in Ireland, Vol. 1 (SIGCD478)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: March 2017
    Download only
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