21. His yoke is easy
Track 14 on Rehearsal CD

This is the third of the love duet choruses. In this one the word “easy” is set to the running sixteenth note passages which originally served for the word ride (REE-deh), to musically demonstrate laughter. However, getting a large chorus to sing these passages lightly and with accuracy will prove to be no light matter! This chorus is the fourth and final part of the last section of Part I (numbers 18-21). This section relates to the earthly wanderings of Christ up until Passion Week. It sets the stage for the Passion music that will begin in Part II. The chorus concludes with a beautiful and dignified passage filled with grandeur.
A yoke is a “wooden bar shaped so that it rests across a person’s shoulders for carrying balanced loads at each end.” In No. 20 the soprano soloist has urged all those with burdens to “take His (Christ’s) yoke upon you, and learn of Him.” In this chorus we are told that Christ’s burden (spelled “burthen” in Handel’s day) is not heavy and that the yoke he would put on us is “easy.” Handel, with his lack of security with English first spelled this word “ease.” As a final word, relax and take it “easy!”

Theme A – ALTO, measures 6-8 (sung EASY and detached)

His yoke is easy – slight glottal stop after the "k" in "yoke", unaccent second

syllable of "easy", decrescendo the last 3 notes,

watch dotted rhythm on first note of 3rd beat of the run -

h(IH) – z(EE)(AW)(OO)k / (IH) – z(EE) - - - - z(IH)

Theme B – ALTO, measures 8-9 (sung LIGHT and legato for contrast)

his burden is light.- resonant and hummy N, omit the "r" in "burden" almost no vowel on "den"

h(IS) B(oo) - dNN (IH)z L(UH)(EE)T

ALTO emphasized pick-up to and measure 11; SOPRANO emphasized 15; ALTO emphasized 19;

TENOR emphasized 23; SOPRANO emphasized 29; ALTO emphasized 34; SOPRANO emphasized 37

Some TENORS maybe help BASSES at 15-17, 24-26, 31-33; BASSES note downward 7th leap 23-24