Who Composed The Hallelujah Chorus And Why It Is So Popular?


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Bil Nutt answered
The "Hallelujah" chorus was composed by George F. Handel as part of his 1741 oratorio, "Messiah." The oratorio was intended as a piece of music to be played at Easter, but it has now become a staple around the Advent season leading up to Christmas.

As for why "Hallelujah" (the word "chorus" technically isn't part of the title) is so popular, there are a combination of factors. If you are a Christian, it is a stirring expression of Jesus as the anointed one ("Messiah") and the eternal qualities of God the king.

At the risk of being presumptuous, I would think that even nonbelievers would be moved by the music. The interplay of the four vocal lines (bass, tenor, alto and soprano) is thrilling, and the music builds to an emotional finish.

It has become a tradition to stand during the "Hallelujah." The reason is vague. One story I've heard is that King George II, who attended the premiere of "Messiah." was so moved by the "Hallelujah" that he stood up - and when the king stands, everybody stands. Another story I've heard (somewhat more prosaic) is that George was tired of sitting during the work and just decided to stand up - and everybody stood up. Both of these stories may be apocryphal, though, because it's possible that King George II wasn't even at the premiere.

Hope this helps!

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