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‘And he shall purify the Sons of Levi’: QM Music & Sound seminar with Michael Marissen

October 17, 2012

You are warmly invited to a seminar by Michael Marissen, ‘”And he shall purify the Sons of Levi”: A Rereading of Handel’s Messiah.’ This is the first seminar for QM Music & Sound, a new initiative for humanities research on music and sound at and around the Queen Mary. All are welcome.

5.15pm, Tuesday 20 November
ArtsTwo Building, Room 3.16
Queen Mary
Mile End Road E1 4NS

“And he shall purify the Sons of Levi”: A Rereading of Handel’s Messiah. Surprisingly, questions of religious meaning in Handel’s Messiah have been under-explored. This talk will discuss previously unidentified sources for altered readings in the work’s libretto of biblical excerpts, and it will demonstrate how the arrangement of verses and their word choices project Christian schadenfreude toward Judaism. The paper  will go on to show how Handel’s music underscores these tendencies of the libretto and adds to them, reaching a euphoric climax in the Hallelujah chorus.

Michael Marissen is Daniel Underhill Professor of Music at Swathmore College and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations (Woolf Institute, Cambridge). He has published widely on J.S. Bach, and is the author of The Social and Religious Designs of J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos (Princeton) and Lutheranism, anti-Judaism, and Bach’s St. John Passion (Oxford). He is the editor of Creative Responses to Bach from Mozart to Hindemith (Nebraska), and co-author of An Introduction to Bach Studies (Oxford). He is currently working on Handel’s Messiah and Christian triumphalism.

Contact m.e.stanyon[at] with any enquiries.

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