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Four Handel oratorio libretti published by John Gregory of Leicester, 1759 - 1774

Boylan, P. (2006). Four Handel oratorio libretti published by John Gregory of Leicester, 1759 - 1774. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, 80, pp. 123-151.


George Frederic Handel had links with Leicestershire through the very wealthy writer and patron of music and literature Charles Jennens of Gopsall Hall, who, amongst other things wrote and prepared the texts for Messiah and several other important Handel works, and created the most comprehensive library of Handel scores and manuscripts. Between 1759 and 1774 the Leicester printer John Gregory, the founder and publisher of the Leicester Journal, printed and sold full texts of the libretti of four Handel oratorios: Messiah (ca. 1759), Judas Maccabaeus and Esther (both 1761) and Jephtha (1774). All were produced for specific Leicestershire performances of the works. The first three were part of the Church Langton ‘Music Meetings’ of William Hanbury, which included the first known church performance of Messiah in 1959. The fourth was printed for the 1774 Anniversary festival of the Leicester Infirmary. organised and funded by Joseph Cradock, one of Gregory’s fellow Governors of the Infirmary, and brought together many of the leading interpreters and scholars of Handel, creating what was widely regarded as the most important musical event ever held in Leicester.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Culture & the Creative Industries
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