Scarce first edition of Handel's Israel in Egypt
Israel in Egypt an Oratorio in Score, as it was Originally Composed by Mr. Handel.
Handel, George Frideric.
Item Number: 100768
London: Printed for William Randall, c. 1770.
First edition of the score of Handel’s epic Biblical libretto first performed in 1739 with all subsequent printings substantially revised. Folio, bound in three quarters morocco over marbled boards with gilt tooling to the spine in six compartments within raised gilt bands, red morocco spine label lettered in gilt, engraved title page and frontispiece portrait of Handel by Houbraken. In near fine condition. Scarce.
By the early 18th century, Handel had long been a resident of London where he had great success as a composer of Italian operas. In 1733, however, a rival opera company, The Opera of the Nobility, had split the audience for Italian opera in London. Handel thus began to find new audiences through presenting oratorio and other choral works in English, most notably his 1741 Messiah. In composing Israel in Egypt, in what was by then his common practice, Handel recycled music from his own previous compositions and also made extensive use of musical parody. The work premiered at London's King's Theatre in the Haymarket on April 4, 1739 with Élisabeth Duparc "la Francesina", William Savage, John Beard (tenor), Turner Robinson, Gustavus Waltz, and Thomas Reinhold.