oratorio

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oratorio.
1. Strictly, a mus. setting of a religious lib. for solo singers, ch., and orch., in dramatic form but usually perf. without scenery or costumes in concert-hall or church. The form originated in plays given in the Oratory of S. Philip Neri, Rome, in the mid-16th cent., the mus. form developing c.1600. The first oratorio was Cavalieri's La rappresentazione di anima e di corpo (The Representation of Soul and Body), a morality set to music and perf. in costume. Later oratorios, in concert-form, were written by Carissimi, A. Scarlatti, Schütz, Handel (esp. Messiah, the most popular of all oratorios), Haydn, Spohr, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn (Elijah). Elgar wrote 3 oratorios (but The Dream of Gerontius is not an oratorio).

2. The term is also applied to works similar to these cited above but on a non-religious subject, e.g. Handel's Semele, Tippett's A Child of our Time. Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex is described as an opera-oratorio.

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or·a·to·ri·o / ˌôrəˈtôrēˌō; ˌär-/ • n. (pl. -os) a large-scale musical work for orchestra and voices, typically a narrative on a religious theme, performed without the use of costumes, scenery, or action.Well-known examples include Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Handel's Messiah, and Haydn's The Creation.

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oratorio XVIII. — It. — ecclL. ōrātōrium ORATORY1; so named from the musical performances held in the church of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Rome from the latter part of XVI.

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oratorio Form of sacred musical composition for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra. The first of these compositions were presented in oratories (chapels) in 17th-century Italy. Outstanding examples are Handel's Messiah (1742) and Elgar's Dream of Gerontius (1900).

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oratorio a large-scale, usually narrative musical work for orchestra and voices, typically on a sacred theme, performed without costume, scenery, or action. The form arose in the early 17th century, from the services of the Oratory.

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Oratorio. The setting of a religious (usually Christian) text to music; the setting is extensive, with soloists, chorus, and instruments. It is not, however, like opera, in that it is not staged or acted out.

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