Rock Around the Croc: Oratorio

Happy Sunday and welcome back to the Baroque. Let’s talk about oratorio: a large-scale musical work on a religious theme featuring choir and full orchestra. Any discussion of oratorio inevitably draws comparisons with opera, and that’s because they grew from some of the same impulse to heighten the expressive power of text by adding music. The most obvious difference is that opera is a stage play, complete with scenery, costumes and actor/singers. Oratorios are strictly sung, although sometimes there will be minimal costumes. Operas can be on any subject, often mythical or historical, but oratorios are on sacred subjects, with Protestant composers taking their texts from Bible stories, and Catholics doing both Bible stories and lives of the saints. Here’s Handel’s Joshua:

Here’s my confession: I’ve never listened to a complete oratorio. The main problem with operas – they require a huge amount of time invested to really appreciate, especially if you don’t speak the language of the opera – exists with oratorio as well, with the added problem that you don’t even have action on the stage to help you follow a story. Even if you do know the story, the whole point of oratorio is to dramatize that story, and to tie the presentation of the story to the music.

That being said, one of the most famous pieces of music ever written, and the oldest piece of music that has been continually performed since it was first written, is an oratorio: Handel’s Messiah.

As much as I love the Hallelujah chorus, I just don’t have the patience to listen to this for over two hours. Maybe if I’m at a live performance, but not if I’m sitting at home and want something playing in the background. So here’s me skipping to the good part:

Here’s the aria “Lascia ch’io pianga (let me weep)” from Handel’s opera Rinaldo:

Georg Friederich Handel (1685-1759) was born in Halle (now Germany, then part of Brandeburg-Prussia). He began his musical education at age 7, when the Duke heard him playing the organ at the Weissenfels cathedral and was impressed by his talent. His teacher, Friedrich Zachow, primarily performed older style music because of his duties in the church, but he recognized Handel’s talent and so exposed him to a great deal of international composers and styles. In 1710, Handel became the cappelmeister to George, Elector of Hannover. While that was a good gig in terms of pay and job security, Handel had his eye on London as a more influential city for music. He got permission from George to travel to England for a temporary trip, but once he arrived he decided to stay. That was all well and good until 1714, when George became the King of England – a situation that could have proven quite awkward to the AWOL composer. In order to protect himself and try to curry favor with the snubbed monarch, Handel composed his water music, three orchestral suites, that he had performed for the Kind while the latter was on his royal barge on the Thames. The legend is that King George was so fond of the music that he reconciled with Handel.

Last week I ended up my post by talking about Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, because he tells stories with his music. That kind of musical storytelling is much closer to oratorio than to opera (albeit on a secular topic), because no one will ever turn The Curse of Millhaven into a stage play. So I’ll end this short post by linking King Missile’s song The Boy Who Ate Lasagna and Could Jump Over a Church:

Hopefully you’ve heard something you like today. Peace, love and happiness to all of you, and have a blessed Sunday.


  1. Your mom is a skillful organ player

  2. Peace, love and happiness to you as well Sobek


    Sometimes I feel like I’m beating a dead horse (apologies Mare) by repeatedly posting comments linking to stories about adverse reactions to the Covid jab but I feel like it is inevitable that at some point the weight of the evidence will become convincing enough that the whole enterprise collapses.

  4. Given that we’re in EOY-mode at the H2 with both the thrilling boob finals and Secret Santa upon us already perhaps you could do a classical music Christmas post or just link one of your faves every week because I do lurve me some Christmas music. Your inclusion of Handel’s Messiah is what gave me that thought.

  5. wakey wakey

  6. I’ve always like this. And by “like” I mean how the fuck does she do this?

  7. Early November and the heat is still not on yet. Next few days will be in the high 50’s which is good. Bedroom and upstairs bathroom windows are still open a sliver. I have adopted long pants and a t-shirt/long sleeve combo instead of shorts and a t-shirt so I think that’s been the difference for comfort in the house.

  8. This is just a little piece, but I’ve always loved it – again, the singing by this gentleman is amazing.

  9. OH, love this one too.

  10. Something about the time changes pulls me in. I dunno.

  11. Well, it’s 29 here, so yea, the heat is on.

  12. My symphonic band directer (we were really good- go figure, a school filled with lots of kids whose parents could afford music lessons) had us play the ENTIRE THING one year. It was pretty cool.

  13. 29 degrees here too. It’s sunny and we get blasted by the sun early in the morning which helps.

  14. What instrument did you play Carin? I played trumpet from 6th grade to 7th grade and was in the band at junior high school. We had to walk to school and I eventually got tired of lugging my trumpet to and from school every day and I knew my high school I’d be attending didn’t have a band so I focused on other aspects of school like juvenile delinquency.

  15. flute and piccolo. which sorta sucked because about 45 other girls also played the flute. We had two wind bands (plus a more remedial group for anyone not up to the two bands levels) and one (?) string. So I had to fight and fight to get to the top. You had to be one of the top 4 in the school to be in the orchestra (strings with wind, obviousl), which is where I wanted to play, so finally by senior year I got my seat.

    Our symphonic band was the best, though. Just so many players, that there was a lot of talent. Several people I graduated with went on to professional careers. One kid switched halfway through school to attend that fancy school in New York City. Apparently he became friends with Anthony Micheal Hall – who was a big child actor at the time.

  16. Yesterday was sunny and warm, but all week it’s been a high in the mid 40’s but overcast and very damp/cold air.

  17. Its the humidity in Michigan that makes it cold. When we have a 40 or 50 degree day with sun and low humidity – its amazing. But we can have a 50 degree day that is NOT nice at all.

  18. So, a friend of mine was having a really bad day at work (the restaurant) so I ran the puppies up there to cheer her up. Everyone LOVED the puppies, of course. Some lady tried to give me her number … for the puppies. Sorry lady, there is a very long line ahead of you. Then TWO more people messaged me out of the blue asking for one.

    It’s crazy. But they are super cute puppies.

  19. So, no one else is up? Just me and Jimbro?

    I’ve got a LOT to do today. Everyone is asleep at my house too. But it’s 8:30, isn’t it?

  20. Our public high school band was pretty good back in the day. I took a summer course at the high school with the band director who was a really good teacher.

    If I had gone there I would have played because their football team at the time was crazy good and routinely won Division 1 super bowls. Too intimidating to even consider joining them. They sent a bunch of kids to play in big college programs every year whereas I was considered one of the bigger kids on my Division 4 team.

  21. Marching Band music and origins might be an interested topic there Sobek, I was just remembering Jr. High and High School band and thinking it a strange concept that marching around with wind and percussion instruments in uniforms was just what we did. I’m assuming military parades would be the start.

    Supposed to be 70 and sunny today, persimmons will be picked.

  22. Mom grew up poor but loved music, she took piano lessons whenever she could growing up, and every house we lived in together had a piano. My older sister was down with the plan and played piano, organ, violin, oboe, and bells in marching band. She was also in every choir and had a nice voice. I was not particularly talented and really didn’t like piano. I wanted to play guitar but my parents wouldn’t fund that little adventure without commitment to some other school band approved instrument, and they needed low brass at my school so I ended up playing the trombone for 5-6 years. I got my own bass guitar when I was 16-17 but never really learned how to jam with other people. I had the hair but not the musical commitment to learn how to play.

  23. So funny that you linked Estuans interius, because that’s the first thing I thought of when you posted the first Orff piece that wasn’t O Fortuna. I’ve never met anyone who knew anything past O Fortuna before, and I think it’s because the rest of it is so weird. Estuans interius sounds like a galloping horse, but also reminds me of something Japanese, so I always picture a samurai in full body armor, galloping through the old west away from cowboy banditos with silver sixguns. Oh, and they all speak Latin for some reason. It totally cracks me up.

  24. The missus and I stayed in a pretty nice hotel Friday night. The next morning I went down for the free breakfast and they were serving “vegetarian sausage”. I do not recommend.

  25. Stetit puella is amazing:

  26. Yep- another nice one. If I remember, isn’t one a response to the other? Its been a while since I was deep in it.

  27. I always wanted to play. My uncle, (we all resided in the same apt in NYC) got a full ride to Juilliard for guitar and he worked at Mannys guitar in NYC. This was in 1969. Guy could listen to a song on radio and play it before it was over, had ALL the cool guitars, and spent 30 yrs in the NYC music scene. Never made it big. Lots of studio work between bands, knew EVERBODY, just never got the right place, sound, group, moment, luck needed. I digress.

    So I tried to teach myself pre computer using store bought materials, not a good outcome. BUT, with the computer along with the invention of “tabulature”, I’ve been able to teach myself over the years. Ill never play commercially but most people can recognize what I’m playing when I try. And I can damn sure run a cat out of the room.

  28. I had tickets to a performance of the entire thing but China flu cancelled it. I was really bummed.

  29. Our heat has been on for a week, don’t know how you do it up there. Must be all the maple syrup you drink.

  30. I may have been disappointed though, because I’ve spend so long listening to REALLY good singers performing it … the entire choir parts would be fine, but the solos I may be a snob about.

  31. It really isn’t that unpredictable that I like “weird” classical music.

  32. I haven’t listened to Carmina Burana in a while. I was trying to find the really weird one (Olim Lacus) and realized there are a lot of really good pieces in there. Here’s Olim Lacus, which for some reason totally cracks me up. I’ve always imagined it sung by a fat drag queen with horrific amounts of makeup:

  33. “Vegetarian Sausage” This does not compute.

  34. This is a pretty dance tune that YouTube just recommended, Guillaume de Machaut, going back to Renaissance music:

  35. Yeah, Pendejo, your first hint should have been that it was labeled vegetarian sausage.

  36. It was the only game in town. I tried it. I won’t try it again. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever put in my mouth (that would be your mom’s nipples) but it definitely was not satisfying.

  37. Pd, thanks for questioning Milley. His actions in Afghanistan are only the tip of the iceberg. It’s a big tip (heh) but there’s so much more about his actions to dislike.

    And fuck army/airforce for having that dipshit speak.

    Did he get lots of love?

    Fuck them extra if he did.

  38. I’m sad that Pupster never got to live his musical dream.

  39. This year is definitely an outlier Scott. Usually between the actual cold and Paula mentioning how cold she is regularly I turn the heat on in mid October.

  40. He was giving the oath of office to 25 or so new recruits. Of course he had to blather on about diversity for five minutes first. I guess so the mooslim and tranny recruits and oils know that they’re welcome.

  41. I don’t know what me and autocrack just said.

  42. Fuck Milley.

    Fat, loser.


  44. If I remember correctly (from playing it) Olim Lacus is the one with some crazy time changes and signatures.

  45. Comment by PepeLp on November 7, 2021 10:48 am


    Speaking of fat losers.

  46. (that would be your mom’s nipples)

    Or you could try Milley’s nipples instead.

  47. Well this is certainly a step in the right direction to take on England during the next war exercises:

  48. Today is my mom’s 100th birthday. No more your mom jokes for the rest of the day, please.

  49. For real?

  50. Happy Birthday Hotspur’s Mom, 100 years is a hell of a long time, God bless you.

  51. For 100 years you get EXTRA mom jokes

  52. Hotspur, your Mom lived to be 100? Good stories I bet.

  53. Transgender and gay activists – that’s the focus of our military rn. Navy ran a sub AGROUND last month and burned one up last year. Maybe they should focus on more important things.

  54. How is that even legal?

  55. For Jimbro:

  56. “Well this is certainly a step in the right direction to take on England during the next war exercises”
    I’m not sure what the message behind that decision is. Maybe the U.S. Navy is going to blow the hell out of you?

  57. ^ Dis a the committee responsible for naming naval vessels know it’s a fLag ship, the “L” is crucially important?

  58. *does….Christ I need to replace this piece of junk.

  59. I worked in a pizza restaurant that had a jukebox for about a year, I swear to Dog I was in a murderous rage over that Grandma song for a long, long time. Every kid with a quarter would play it back to back, if I hear that intro start up I will snap a wrist to change the channel.

  60. Yours, or somebody else’s?

    Seriously, I worked retail in ’92-’93. Went toxic on “pop” Christmas music. Still can’t stand most of it to this day.

  61. No, unfortunately my mom only made it to 96. But today is her birthday. She was born in 1921.

  62. Did everyone remember to turn their bombs back last night?

  63. I imagine Ahmed is old enough now to have a job in the Brandon admin.

  64. Or a captain in the Marines.

  65. For Pupster:

  66. Also, fist bump to Bro Tim. I’ve never worked retail, but there are like twelve different Christmas songs, so I am not a fan of Christmas music. Mrs S loves it, so I’ll put up with it without grumbling while she’s within earshot, but I don’t turn it on unless there’s some specific reason. Sorry, Jimbro.

  67. Fired up the snow blower today. It will only run on full choke. It runs fine, but as soon as I turn the choke to open throttle it dies.

    Small engines are a fucking pain in the ass. Guess I’ll need to disassemble the carb. Fuck.

  68. I get it Pup. But anyone asking for Christmas music before Thanksgiving weekend is over with gets the most annoying song I can think of!
    The first place I worked at when I got out blasted a short list of Christmas tunes, on repeat, over the pa system right after halloween, because the owners wife liked it. I have no tolerance left for it. There’s a correct time for it, and it’s brief.

  69. ^ when you’re in a place wher christas s jyet another day of survivig, and local churches step up to make a Christmas for you, and its distributed by the leader of the facility church, that steals the best stuff donated for her self, well…..enough said.

  70. I made double chocolate brownies. If anyone wants to swing by, I will share.

  71. Mrs. DNH landed herself in the hospital with afibrilation(sp?), doing okay but will be there a few days. Been busy doing house keeping that’s fallen behind while she declined, have this movie ” girl with the dragon tattoo” playing in the background while I work. Remember when it came out, the dweeb movie critics loved it, so I ignored it. It’s actually a flippin’ good movie, will have to watch it when I have 3 hours with nothing better to do…..take my laptop to the in-laws place on Turkey day & stream it instead of being force fed a poorly cooked thanksgiving dinner and NFL or college football.

  72. The books are pretty good too DNH, I watched the Swedish (original) movies, they are just like the books but they talk funny.

    Feel more better soon Mrs. Dave.

  73. DNH, which version, the original or the H’wood remake?

    Traditional/religious Christmas music or GTFO.

  74. Dammit, I need to get a holiday avatard ready, don’t I…

  75. Brotim, not sure about that q. Assuming the movie, it’s the one with Daniel Craig in the lead.

  76. ^ BT, also agree, traditional/ religious, but don’t start until after Thanksgiving weekend is over. Christmas in July is an annoying marketing gimmick!

  77. Beside the point Brandon’s supply chain can’t even deliver lumps of coal, much less presents everyone wants….

  78. DiT posted a pic with 2 new ornaments…#teamcraptree. Work radio started playing Christmas music on Friday. First big holiday sales event started yesterday. It’s all background noise to me.

  79. Take the carburetor off , disassemble & soak the parts in carb cleaner, HS, then reassemble. Get a carb kit for it too, o rings hate carb cleaner.

  80. ****if that carburetor is made of plastic, fortet it, buy a new snow blower. I can hook you up with a guy that builds snow blowers powered by Chevy 454’s.

  81. ^ launch your snow into the next county!

  82. …..and I’m a Ford guy….

  83. I like Christmas music from Thanksgiving till about New Year’s. Some songs drive me crazy and get the FF button. If I was in retail it would put me over the edge although Oso brings up the background music idea which would happen eventually. I need to get my fruitcake on soon.

  84. My Hostage Christmas song story. I always H8d Christmas Shoes. H8. Sean linked Patton Oswalts Christmas Shoes stand up. I love that song, now. Post Trump, I H8 Patton and Jim Gaffigan.

  85. I can’t stand it.

  86. Led Zeppelin and Christmas music, nothing makes me change a radio station faster.

  87. We had another attempt at work Friday. Long story short, our GM didn’t want to pay us to wait in our cars while the police cleared the building. I am so over local LEOs and our DA not giving a fuck about “Property Crime”

  88. If your “Christmas music” makes people sad, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

  89. Two more days. On our way to Pittsburgh

  90. Comment by Sobek on November 7, 2021 4:38 pm
    I made double chocolate brownies. If anyone wants to swing by, I will share.

    Okee doke, Richard. I have a three-ounce gold bar on my front step, free to the first person who gets here in three minutes.

  91. Chris, I’m glad you link the ridicule every week. Thank you for your service.

    Lumps, thank you for reminding me that I still have brownies. Imma go eat another one.

  92. DICK

  93. Chocolate brownies help you sleep.
    Have two.

  94. Defenseless, Edwin retreated pathetically.

  95. As I think you said Carin, who cares how true or verifiable Joe’s shitting/farting stories are, did they verify anything with Trump?


  96. Antifa is lots of stupid. I saw that yesterday via an Andy Ngo tweet and figured I’d read more about it today. Other than occasional clips of commies getting their asses beaten the story holds no interest for me because they are truly idiots.

    They, along with BLM and other assorted wingnuts and rim lickers, are the Democrat Party’s brown shirts

  97. What is interesting is every time they do something stupid like this, they demonstrate for the world to see that their name /organization is a lie.

  98. Pray for Oso. Have to leave the house at 7 this morning, and my traveling buddies were up a bit too late doing shots.


    I start waking their asses up in t-minus 10 minutes.

  99. MMM 469

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