24. Surely He hath borne our griefs
Track 19 on Rehearsal CD

This chorus is closely related to the preceding aria "He was despised" which has always been one of the most admired movements in Messiah. In the autographed score this chorus and the next two choruses are actually one long chorus. The texts of the three choruses are from consecutive verses in Isaiah and, contrary to common practice, they should be performed without a break between them. The dotted rhythmic figure of the middle section of the aria becomes the central feature of "Surely He hath borne our griefs". The chorus seems to speak for all mankind when they sing of our griefs, our sorrows, our transgressions, our iniquities, and our peace. The central idea here is that though we sinned, Christ has suffered the punishment which we instead deserve. The “chastisement of our peace” refers to the punishment (literally whipping or beating) that Christ experienced, that in turn brings about our peace. Or it may be thought of as “The punishment that was necessary for us to have peace.” “Our iniquities” refers to the wicked things we do.
The more recent Bible translations shed much light on this passage about the “suffering servant.” For example, where the King James version used the word “griefs,” we now find such words as “infirmities,” “torments,” or “sickness.” Also, instead of “He was wounded,” we find “He was pierced through,” which words Christians relate more closely to the crucifixion. For the word “bruised,” we now find “crushed” or “tortured.”

Sung as one chorus with and with His stripes and All we like sheep

Notice "whipping" rhythm in orchestra

Theme A – SOPRANO, measures 9-11 (sung slightly detached)

Surely, surely, He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows – "surely" a 3 syllable word,

Flip the "r" in "surely", "griefs", "carried", and "sorrows",

Omit the "r" in "borne" and "our", strong L’s and N’s,

Z of "sorrows" on the last half of beat 4.

Pay special attention to the accidentals.

SH(oo) – R(UH) – l(EE), … H(EE) h(EH)th b(AW)n (UH)(oo) Gr(EE) – fs(EH)nd

K(EH) – r(EE)d (UH)(oo) S(AW) – R(AW)(OO)z

Theme B – ALL, measures 12-19 (sung broadly and legato)

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities – flip "r" in "for",

Omit "r" in "our", strong N in "wounded", flip "r"s in "transgressions",

Flip "r" in "bruised", unaccent the "-ed" in "wounded" and "bruised",

Pay close attention to the accidentals.

H(EE) (OO)(UH) – zW(OO)N – d(IH)d f(AW) (UH)(oo) TR(EH)NS – GR(EH) – sh(UH)ns

H(EE) (OO)(UH) – zBR(oo)(OO) – (EH)d f(AW) (UH)(oo)

(IH)n – (IH) – K(OO)(IH) – T(EE)Z

ALL - emphasize suspensions and dissonances:

SOPRANO – M13 beat 3; M14 beat 1; M15 beat 1; M16 beats 2,4; M17 beats1,3; M18 beats1,2;

ALTO – M13 beat 1; M15 beat1; M16 beats 2,4; M18 beat 3

TENOR – M13 beat 3; M14 beat 1; M15 beats 1,3; M17 beats 1,3; M18 beat 3

BASS – M13 beat 1; M14 beat 1; M15 beats 1,3; M17 beat 1; M18 beats 1,2

BASS – watch downward leaps – M 14, 16, 17

Theme C – ALL, measures 19-24 – only breathe at rests – otherwise stagger breathing.

The chastisement of our peace was upon Him - STRONG "CH" "S" "T" "Z" "N" "T" – "whipping" sounds. Full beat on "-ment" – final NT in rest.

ALL – 22-24 emphasize suspensions and dissonances:

SOPRANO – M 22 beats 1,3; M23 beat 1; M24 beat1

ALTO – M22 beat 2; M23 beat 3; M24 beat1

TENOR – M22 beats 1,2,4; M23 beat 1, second ½ of beat 2; M24 second ½ of beat 2

BASS – M22 beats 3,4