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The work was completed in April 1707 while Handel was living in Italy. It is Handel's earliest surviving autograph. The work was written in the baroque style and is scored for five vocal soloists (SSATB), chorus, strings and continuo. It is most likely that the work was first performed on 16 July 1707 in the Church of Santa Maria in Montesanto, under the patronage of the Colonna family. The most popular use of this piece is performed in the Preludium of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music.
The score was published in 1867. A typical performance lasts a little over 30 minutes.
The work has the following movements:
|Movement||Type and Voice||Text (English)||Text (Latin)|
|1||Chorus||The Lord said unto my Lord:|
Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy foot-stool.
|Dixit Dominus Domino meo:|
Sede a dextris meis, donec ponam inimicos tuos scabellum pedum tuorum.
|The Lord shall send the rod of thy power out of Sion:|
be thou ruler, even in the midst among thine enemies.
|Virgam virtutis tuae emittet Dominus ex Sion:|
dominare in medio inimicorum tuorum.
|In the day of thy power shall the people offer thee free-will offerings with an holy worship.|
The dew of thy birth is of the womb of the morning.
|Tecum principatus in die virtutis tuae, in splendoribus sanctis.|
Ex utero ante luciferum genui te.
|4||Chorus||The Lord swore, and will not repent:||Juravit Dominus et non paenitebit eum:|
|5||Chorus||Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech.||Tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech.|
|6||Soloists and chorus||The Lord upon thy right hand,|
shall wound even kings in the day of his wrath.
|Dominus a dextris tuis,|
confregit in die irae suae reges.
|7||Chorus||He shall judge the nations,|
fill the places with destruction, and shatter the capitals in many lands.
|Judicabit in nationibus,|
Implebit ruinas, conquassabit capita in terra multorum.
|8||Soprano duet and chorus||He shall drink of the brook in the way,|
therefore shall he lift up his head.
|De torrente in via bibet,|
propterea exaltabit caput.
|9||Chorus||Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,|
As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be: throughout all ages. Amen.
|Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,|
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
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