Messiah is the finest of Handel's sacred
oratorios, with texts derived from both Old and New Testaments relating to the
birth and death of Jesus.
The anthems which begin the concert use words
from the Book of Psalms. The first of them was written during the time that
Handel was employed by the Duke of Chandos, while the second is one of four
written for the Coronation of King George II in 1727.