17. Glory to God

In this chorus the singers are angels singing a hymn of praise at the birth of Christ in Bethlehem of Judea, a small town near the present day Jerusalem, just as it was two thousand years ago. There is a “Shepherd’s Field” (actually more than one) which tourists can visit yet today. The Pastoral Symphony has set the scene as being at this field, where the shepherds heard them sing. The soprano soloist (an angelic voice) has been saved for this announcement of the angels. She has been accompanied by the fluttering wings of angels (the string sixteenth note figurations in Nos. 14b and 16) as she introduces the angelic chorus. The angelic activity is continued by the string figuration that always accompanies the singing of their words “Glory to God.” This short chorus ends with the disappearance of the angels, which Handel portrayed with a final trilling “flutter” which he marked pianissimo. This exciting but brief chorus brings the Christmas scene to a close. As one writer has rightly observed: “The glitter and sparkle of this chorus is astonishing.”

Theme A – BASS, measures 26-28 (sung marked and detached – and HEAVENLY – with PRAISE!)

Glory to GodGlory to God in the highest - flip the "r" in "Glory", unaccent the "-ry",

the final "D" in God sung clearly and in the rest, high – est not hi – yest,

clear and quick "st" exactly in the rest. Solid FORTE at beginning.

GL(AW) – d(EE) t(oo) G(AW)D … (IH)n th(oo) H(UH)(EE) – (EH)st

SOPRANOs don’t have the tune in any of the statements of this theme. It is always in the lowest voice:

TENOR emphasized in 1-4 and 10-13, BASS emphasized at letter C

Theme B – ALL, measures 30-31 (sung broadly and "down to earth")

And peace on earth. – strong ND, tiny pause after "Peace" to avoid hissss, omit the "r" in earth,

(EH)nd P(EE)ce / (AW)n (oo)TH

ALTO emphasized; BASS also – they have the theme – the octave leap brings the angels

"closer to earth"

Theme C – SOPRANO, measures 20-21 (sung legato)

Goodwill towards men, towards men – very distinct "d" in "goodwill", but connect it to the "w"

in "will", rhythmic figure on "toward" very crisp, but not "too-hoo-hoo", omit "r" in "towards", lots of M and N in men, don’t sing Meh-nuh.

G(oo) – D(OO)(IH)LL t(oo) – (OO)(AW)dz m(EH)n, t(oo) – (OO)(AW)dz m(EH)n

ALL, measures 18-24, and 33-34 – as you enter with the theme, enter strongly, then back off as the next voice takes over.

SOPRANO and BASS emphasized 35-42

ALL, not too loud at 35, measures 35-38 – tasteful crescendo