28. He trusted in God

Here we have a very dramatic chorus which resembles the “Let Him be Crucified!” chorus of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. This is not pious church music. It is an almost operatic crowd scene, which has been set by the soloist in No. 27, who derisively sang “All they that see Him laugh Him to scorn.” The chorus continues the mocking and arrogant tone of that solo with their relentless delivery of the text from Psalm 22: “He trusted in God that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him if he delight in Him.” We know, on the authority of King George III, that Handel regarded this chorus highly. The King correctly observed that it contained “a manifest presumption and impertinence, of which Handel has, in the most masterly manner, taken advantage.” This is a difficult chorus, with a multitude of chromatics and with challenges at every turn.
Never lose sight of the implied mob psychology that permeates every bar of this marvelous chorus. A clue for the expressive qualities needed comes from the soloist’s words: ”They shoot out their lips {in saying ugly things, their mouths are distorted and twisted into a distended position} and shake their heads!” The chorus must make Christ appear cut off and isolated on the cross, so that He will be “full of heaviness” in the next solo. There are no real shortcuts available to performing this chorus well. As is so often true, “repetition is the mother of learning.”

much more an operatic crowd scene than pious church music – arrogant, mocking and ferocious

Theme 1 – BASS, measures 1-5 – (sung very marked)

He trusted in God that He would deliver Him, let Him deliver him, if He delight in Him –
sarcastic stress to “trust”; sostenuto on “let Him de-“; staccato on “if He”;
stress “delight in Him”; omit “r” in “deliver”; crisp consonants

H(EE) TR(UH)ST – (IH)d (IH)n G(AW)D th(EH)t H(EE) 
(OO)(oo) – d(EE) - L(IH) - v(oo) H(IH)m 

Theme 2 – BASS, measures 18-20

If He delight in Him, let Him deliver Him – emphasize when you have this descending pattern

(IH)f H(EE) d(EE) – L(UH)(EE) – t(IH)n H(IH)m 
l(EH)t H(IH)m d(EE) – L(IH) – v(oo) H(IH)m 

never lose sight of the implied “mob psychology” which permeates every bar – a clue for these expressive qualities comes from the previous soloist’s words, “They shoot out their lips and shake their heads!”
The final adagio has the same disdainful quality. The whole chorus must make Christ appear cut off and isolated on the cross, so that he will be “full of heaviness” in the next solo.