41. Let us break their bonds asunder
Track 44 on Rehearsal CD

This chorus follows the bass rage aria Why do the nations, and is an extension of it. That there should be no pause between them is made clear because Handel added a notation at the end of the aria: “Coro, let us break their bonds asunder.” This is even more of a crowd chorus than He trusted in God was. The bass has sung from Psalm 2:1-2 of the rebellion of people (“nations”) and their leaders (“Kings”) against God and the Messiah (“His anointed”). Now the chorus continues the text with verse 3 of the Psalm, “Let us break their bonds asunder and cast their yokes from us.” In other words, Let us throw off the fetters of captivity and not be subjected to those who would act as conquerors. This chorus should sound like “Patriots of God’s chosen nation whose defiant voices echo off the walls of a prison from which they are escaping.” Let the angular quality of the two themes leap out at the listener graphically as if to depict the wresting free of the fetters with which the captive singers have been restrained.

Handel was primarily an opera composer. This is clearly DRAMA!


Theme 1 – BASSES, measures 3-5    restless and aggressive. Sung staccato as indicated in the tempo –


                                                                                Emphasize every other note. LET  us  BREAK  their …  - not “lettuce”


Let us break their bonds asunder, let us, let us break their bonds.  American “r” in “break,

Omit “r” in “asunder”


L(EH) T  (UH)s  BR(EH)(EE)K  th(EH)r  B(AW)NDZ  (UH)  S(UH)N  d(oo)

L(EH) T  (UH)s , L(EH) T  (UH)s  BR(EH)(EE)K  th(EH)r  B(AW)NDZ


Theme 2 – TENORS, measures 10-13   same restlessness and staccato as above,  one full beat on “us”, 

                                                                                                back off from final “s” and put it in the following rest.


                And cast away their yoke from us.  Omit “r” in “their”, American “r” in “from”


                (EH)nd   K(EH)ST  (UH)  W(EH)(EE)   th(EH)r  (EE)(AW)(OO)K  FR(UH)M  (UH)S 


TENORS - get first pitch from second violins in preceding aria. May need help on first entrance from some altos.

TENORS – beat 2 measure 32 is a rest.

HEMIOLAS – measures 21-22, 42-43, 52-53, 57-58, 60-61, 65-66 – they change emphasis on words.

Tempo determined by melismas in theme 2