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The Story Behind Handel’s Messiah

Kelsie Moore

Handel’s Messiah is likely the world’s most famous oratorio – it’s certainly the most performed. But what's the story behind it?

Many of us associate Messiah with the Christmas season, but when it was first performed in 1742, it was during Lent. This Friday at noon, we’ll revisit our conversation with playwright Tim Slover about the true story of how a then-depressed George Frideric Handel wrote this enduring piece of music in just 24 days. It’s an amazing story with fascinating characters and of course, beautiful music.

And make sure you watch our RadioWest Film, That One Moment in Handel’s Messiah, about the aria “He Was Despised” and the scandal-plagued actress Susannah Cibber who premiered Handel’s masterpiece. You can find it at: films.radiowest.org


Tim Slover's book is called Messiah: The Little-Known Story of Handel's Beloved Oratorio. [Indiebound| Amazon]. It includes a CD featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing Messiah.

Airdate: Friday, Dec. 24, 2021 and rebroadcast Friday, Dec. 23, 2022 at 12 p.m.

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