51. But thanks be to God
Track 55 on Rehearsal CD

The brief preceding duet, "O death where is thy sting", is an integral part of this next-to-the-last chorus of Messiah. The duet text, which is the Bible follows the “Judgment Day” text of "The trumpet shall sound", is from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 15:55-56. Then this chorus is a setting of verse 57. The duet emphasizes the victory over death which those who believe in Christ the Messiah have achieved, and the chorus gives thanks for this victory through music Handel rather loosely adapted from one of his Chamber Duets. The chorus has thematic material in common with the duet and it, too, seems duet-like at times, even when all four voices are singing. How ingeniously Handel uses the same music that “thumbed its nose” at death to give thanks for the victory!

Stand for this chorus before 49. Then shall be brought to pass. Numbering for this chorus starts at 25

Theme A – BASS, measures 25-27 (legato)

But thanks, but thanks, thanks, thanks be to God – EH vowel on “thanks”
connect the second and third “thanks”,“nks” crisp and light, not noisy; 
“d” of “God” in the following rest.

B(UH)t th(EH)nks b(UH) t th(EH) – nksth(EH)nks th(EH)nks b(EE) t(oo) G(AW)d

Who giveth us the victory, the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ – separate “eth” – eh-heth”,
breath after first “victory”; flip the “r” in “victory” “through” and “Christ”; 
omit the “r” in “Lord”, “st” in “Christ” in the following rest.

H(oo)(OO) g(IH) – v(EH) – h(EH)th (UH)s th(oo) v(IH)c – t(AW) – d(EE)
Thr(oo)(OO) (UH)(OO)r L(AW)d J(EE) – Z(UH)s CHR(UH)(EE)ST

Emphasize major 7th leaps - TENOR in measure 50, ALTO 59, BASS 60, TENOR 69-70, ALTO 71
Slightly lengthen beat 3 of bar 67 and cadence moments at 35-36, 52-53, 60-61; only slight rit. at end
Emphasize SOPRANO 69-70 – big breath after beat 1 of 69