Proceedings of the 2017 2nd International Conference on Education, Sports, Arts and Management Engineering (ICESAME 2017)

The Spread and Influence of Oratorio "Messiah" by Handel in China

Chunli Ruan
Corresponding Author
Chunli Ruan
Available Online June 2017.
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Oratorio, Messiah, spread, performance, acceptance
Handel's "Messiah" is the most famous oratorio in the history of western music. It enjoys tremendous popularity since its birth in 1742 and is regarded as the most excellent oratorio in the history. Since the beginning of the last century, in China, all or partial parts of the oratorio are being staged increasingly. However, the performance history in China is not paid close attention. This paper attempts to describe and analyze the performance situation and acceptance process of this piece in China from the perspective of history, so as to provide a case reference for the study and spread of the western religious music in China. It is well known that George Friedrich Handel (from 1685 to 1759) is regarded as one of the music masters who enjoys the equal popularity with J. S. Bach by the later generations. He is also one of the representatives for the most prominent western Baroque composer. He is the composer of "Messiah", which is taken as an oratorio to be played by maximum times (including the versions in English and other languages). It is also regarded as a sacred music which is known well by the Christians. The playscript of this piece is mainly drawn the materials from the Bible to display the process of crucifixion, resurrection and ascension experienced by Jesus who was sent by God from the heaven to the earth. According to the records, Handel only spent 24 days to complete this classic works, which is divided into three parts, namely overture, aria, recitative, duets, chorus, interlude and other music forms, totally 53 tracks. The oratorio "Messiah" is the pinnacle of Handel's music creation, which gives full play to Handel's vibrant and brilliant chorus drama style with charming colors of epic. Among these works, the passionate aria, the dramatic recitative and chorus have reached Baroque's vertex with magnificent style. The whole works is bright, positive and is full of passionate loud. Thus, it was deeply loved by the audiences. Among these works, the "Alleluia", "For unto us a child is born" and other chorus arias are even adopted frequently and known well by many large and small chorus and chant team for rehearsal and performance purposes. Besides, it has also become a treasure in chorus literature. From the historical development point of view, the period that the western music was introduced to China is not long, as this is closely related with the political and cultural conservatism of the Chinese society and the differences between eastern and western countries in religious music. Till today, "Messiah", as a oratorio with western religion as the theme to be staged repeatedly and accepted by the majority of Chinese audiences, this is a very interesting music phenomenon under the situations of the differences between Chinese and western cultural backgrounds.
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AU  - Chunli Ruan
PY  - 2017/06
DA  - 2017/06
TI  - The Spread and Influence of Oratorio "Messiah" by Handel in China
BT  - 2017 2nd International Conference on Education, Sports, Arts and Management Engineering (ICESAME 2017)
PB  - Atlantis Press
SP  - 1128
EP  - 1134
SN  - 2352-5398
UR  -
DO  -
ID  - Ruan2017/06
ER  -