39. Their Sound is Gone Out
Track 42 on Rehearsal CD


This chorus continues the text from Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 10, which served for the previous duet and chorus, but it resumes at verse 18, with verses 16-17 not being set to music, We now find the message of the good news (which is “their sound”) going unto the ends of the world,” and the propagation of this news is depicted by Handel in one of his finest choruses. As is typical of this master, Handel achieves grand effects from simple means. The constant repetition of the simple motives is indicative of the relentless spreading of the gospel. The bass part is of great importance, as is often the case in the baroque era, sometimes called the “figured bass period.” By means of this chorus the preachers referred to in number 37 (“Great was the company”) who have the “beautiful feet” (number 38) have now spread their message (“their sound”) all over the known world.
The composition of this chorus, probably in 1749, seems to be Handel’s final solution after a lot of experimentation with the related text of the previous aria and with this text. For a time “Their sound is gone out” was sung by a tenor soloist. Those who have never performed this chorus will find it very gratifying. An English biographer of Handel points out the “romantic” nature of this chorus, saying, ”The long sweeping phrases that paint the flight of the good tidings over land and sea have a soaring freedom of utterance that gives a character to this chorus distinct from anything else in Messiah".

The message of the good news (their sound) going “unto the ends of the world”. Constant repetition of simple themes = relentless spreading of the gospel. The “preachers” (no.37) who have the “beautiful feet” (no.38) now spread their message (their sound) all over the known world.


Theme 1 — BASS, measures 3-12 (sung marked and detached)

Their sound is gone out into all lands— “sound” and "out” UH vowel not like “at”; final "d” in "land” and "t” in “out” placed in the following rest; use one well

sounded “11” in "alI lands”; final "nds” placed in following rest.

Th(EH)r S(UH)(OO)ND (IH)z G(AW)N (UH)(OO)T (IH)n t(oo)(OO)



Theme 2 — BASS, measures 17-20 (sung legato)

And their words unto the ends of the world. — omit “r” in “words” and “world”; tenor text at

Measure 29 beat 4 should be “of the world”; sustained "world’ —

          “Long and winding melodic journey seems to encompass the globe”

Emphasize BASS and SOPRANO — measure 32 beat 4 through measure 36 beat 1 —

          first parallel then contrary motion.

Slight retard at measure 37. — end of a section.


(EH)nd  th(EH)r  (OO)(oo)DZ  (UH)n t(oo)  th(EE)  (EH)NDZ  (UH)v  th(oo) (OO)(oo)LD