Handel’s Israel in Egypt

Stand for Israel  |  June 29, 2021

Israelites crossing Red Sea to illustrate Handel
The Crossing of the Red Sea, Nicolas Poussin, 1634.

Well over a century ago, on June 29, 1888, the very first audio recording was created. Or the first audio recording that still survives.

While this recording may be hard to hear, it’s surely of historical importance – and it has biblical meaning, too! The recording finds several thousand beautiful voices joining together at England’s Crystal Palace to sing Israel in Egypt by George Frideric Handel.

Handel, of course, is most remembered for his glorious oratorio, Messiah, still performed today. But that biblical piece is joined by another oratorio, heard above (and below) about God’s children and their struggle to escape Pharaoh’s bondage.

As other composers of the 18th century looked to join Handel in writing Italian-language operas, Handel looked to God’s Word for inspiration. Both Messiah and Israel in Egypt use the Bible as their source material. And the latter tells the story of the Israelites, from the death of Joseph to the children of Israel’s escape from slavery.

While the above recording is certainly an interesting artifact, for music fans as well as those who stand for Israel, below find a more contemporary recording of Handel’s Israel in Egypt.