His argument is that this beloved religious oratorio is founded on deep religious bigotry. It is a fascinating and provocative work which uses historical source materials to expose anti-Jewish sentiments embedded in the lyrics. For Messiah
lovers who want to know what they're singing every year, warts and all.
An eye-opening reexamination of Handel's beloved religious oratorio Every Easter, audiences across the globe thrill to performances of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," but they would probably be appalled to learn the full extent of the oratorio's anti-Judaic message. In this pioneering study, respected musicologist Michael Marissen examines Handel's masterwork and uncovers a disturbing message of anti-Judaism buried within its joyous celebration of the divinity of the Christ. Discovering previously unidentified historical source materials enabled the author to investigate the circumstances that led to the creation of the Messiah and expose the hateful sentiments masked by magnificent musical artistry-including the famed "Hallelujah Chorus," which rejoices in the "dashing to pieces" of God's enemies, among them the "people of Israel." Marissen's fascinating, provocative work offers musical scholars and general readers alike an unsettling new appreciation of one of the world's best-loved and most widely performed works of religious music.