First Nights - Handel's Messiah and Baroque Oratorio

Online Course

First Nights – Handel’s Messiah and Baroque Oratorio

What is the course about?

First Nights – Handel’s Messiah and Baroque Oratorio
The course First Nights – Handel’s Messiah and Baroque Oratorio is an online class provided by Harvard University through edX. The skill level of the course is Introductory. It may be possible to receive a verified certification or use the course to prepare for a degree.
Discover Handel’s Messiah in this installment of First Nights, which will explore five masterpieces of western music.
Course description
While Italian opera set the standard in the Baroque era, German composer George Frederic Handel quickly gained popularity for his oratorios, which put operatic techniques to work in the service of sacred music. Handel’s Messiah premiered in Dublin on April 13, 1742, and remains popular to this day. Harvard’s Thomas Forrest Kelly (Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music) guides learners through Messiah’s musical highlights, while detailing Handel’s composition process, the preparations and rehearsals, and the premiere performance. Learners in this module of First Nights need not have any prior musical experience. In this unit, you will learn the basics of musical form and analysis, the genres and styles used in Messiah, the circumstances of its first performance, and its subsequent history. Additional First Nights Modules:Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and the Birth of OperaHandel’s Messiah and Baroque OratorioBeethoven’s “Ninth Symphony”Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and Program Music in the 19th CenturyIgor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring: Modernism, Ballet, and Riots  

Prerequisites & Facts

First Nights – Handel’s Messiah and Baroque Oratorio

Course Topic

Art and Culture, History, Humanities

University, College, Institution

Harvard University

Course Skill Level


Course Language


Place of class

Online, self-paced (see curriculum for more information)



Degree & Cost

First Nights – Handel’s Messiah and Baroque Oratorio

To obtain a verified certificate from edX / Harvard University you have to finish this course or the latest version of it, if there is a new edition. The class may be free of charge, but there could be some cost to receive a verified certificate (49.00 USD) or to access the learning materials. The specifics of the course may have been changed, please consult the provider to get the latest quotes and news.
Harvard University
First Nights – Handel’s Messiah and Baroque Oratorio
provided by edX


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School: Harvard University
Topic: Art and Culture, History, Humanities
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