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Israel in Egypt is atypical among Handel’s oratorios. It has no conventional beginning and choruses on an unprecedented scale amounting to some 20 in all, interspersed with four arias, three duets and four simple recitatives. In short, the work has decidedly innovative and experimental dimensions which are reflected to some extent in Handel’s own compositional process. The unidentified librettist based his text on biblical passages, mainly from the Old Testament book of Exodus. Israel in Egypt was first performed in London in April 1739 ’with several Concertos on the Organ ...’ played by Handel, himself. The first movement of one such concerto, ’The Cuckoo and the Nightingale‘, HWV 295 is included

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Early Music Today, 2015 - ©Rhinegold Publishing