33. Lift up your heads

The chorus has been silent during four solo numbers, which reflect with pathos on the utter abandonment of the lonely Christ. He has assumed the burden of the whole world’s sin, but was not left in Hell to “see corruption” (rot in the grave). This chorus, which rejoices in the victory over Hell, is one of Handel’s finest offerings. The martial quality of the text is captured in his stately acclamation of the conqueror over death who is about to enter heaven. The imagery is that the lintels or arches of the city’s everlasting (that is, ancient) gates are too low to admit this divine King. So they must raise themselves higher or “lift their heads,” to welcome this King of Glory, who is triumphantly entering the Holy City, or heaven. As with “And the glory” and Glory to God,” we once again sing of glory – the splendor and magnificence of the Messiah who redeems the world from sin (darkness) as the light of the world. As is so often the case in Baroque music, the King of Glory is greeted with the call and response inspired by Isaiah 6:3 where the six-winged seraphim were “calling ceaselessly to one another, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts,’” as Dr. Mann describes the scene:”…we are transported to another world, the beyond. It is the calling of Cherubim to Seraphim that is portrayed in the antiphonal style traditionally used to represent the singing of the Heavenly Host”
Is it mere coincidence that this same melodic idea is set to “Glory to God” in number 17? And can you fail to hear “Joy to the World” as you contemplate this melodic formula? Lowell Mason, listed as the composer of the tune to Joy to the World gave credit by stating “Arranged from George Frideric Handel.” This is where he found it!
Do not fail to notice and marvel at the similarity of the motive in the alto of bar 8, beat four through bar 9 to the motive in the first chorus on the words, ”And all flesh (all mankind) shall see it together” ("And the King of glory shall come in!") Here we seem to find all mankind welcoming the Messiah with the same music with which he was prophesied earlier.

Theme 1 – measures 1- 5 – (sung markedly) SOPRANO I Lift up your heads; SOPRANO II O ye gates
SOPRANO I and be ye lift up; SOPRANO II ye everlasting doors;
ALTO and the King of glory shall come in - omit “r” in “your”,“everlasting” and “doors”; flip the “r” in “glory”; emphasize consonants

L(IH)ft (UH) – p(EE)(AW) h(EH)dz (AW)(OO) y(EE) g(EH)(EE)ts
(EH)nd b(EE) y(EE) l(IH)f – t(UH)p y(EE) (EH) – v(oo) – l(EH) – st(IH)ng d(AW)z
(EH)nd th(oo) K(IH)ng (UH)v gl(AW) – d(EE) sh(EH)ll c(UH)m (IH)n

Theme 2 – BASS measures 11-15 – (sung legato)

Who is this King of glory? This King of glory? Who is this King of Glory
Flip the “r” in “glory” – de-emphasize the “-ry” in “glory”

H(oo)(OO) (IH)z th(IH)s K(IN)G (UH)v gl(AW) – d(IH)

at “B” – measure 19 emphasize TENOR; measures 20-21 ALTO; measures 22-23 BASS
measures 27-30 ALTO; measures 31-32 SOPRANO; measures 33-36 BASS; 36-46 SOPRANO & TENOR duet;
49-54 BASS; 55-62 SOPRANO & BASS duet; 62-64 BASS;73-74 BASS

Start sections mf (MENO FORTE) and slowly crescendo to ff: 26-32; 33-39; 40-46; 47-52; 53-64; 65-end
No Rit. at end.

Stately tempo, broadening at 30-33