Handel (1685–1759) conducted the first performance of Messiah – a charity event in Dublin in 1743 – from this score. It is not the original composing score (now in the British Library), but the first copy made from it by Handel’s principal copyist, John Christopher Smith. Into it Handel himself not only inserted performance markings but also alternate versions of certain arias. One such, shown here, is now the familiar version of ‘Rejoice greatly’, which replaced an earlier version in 12/8 time.
Excerpt from Handel's Messiah (‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion’) performed by Julia Doyle (soprano), with the Britten Sinfonia conducted by Stephen Layton. Reproduced by courtesy of Hyperion Records Ltd.