Tassilo J. Erhardt

Winner Dissertation Prize 2006

‘A Most Excellent Subject’. Händels Messiah im Licht von Charles Jennens’ theologischer Bibliothek

Supervisor: Prof. dr A.A. Clement
Nomination: Utrecht University, Faculty of the Humanities (Science of Music)

Report by the selection committee

Georg Friedrich Händel composed his Messiah in the incredibly short time of three weeks. Much less is known about the way he came to the texts and how he expressed the emotions in the libretto into music. A thorough reconstruction of the books Händels librettist Charles Jennens used shows the logic in the structure of the Messiah. This refutes the prevailing opinion that Händel had not paid attention to the text. Erhardt’s reconstruction of the sources of the librettist can now be applied to other compositions by Händel.