A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Hallelujah

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HALLELUJAH. A Hebrew term (hallelu-Jah, 'praise Jehovah') which, like Amen, Selah, Hosanna, etc., has been preserved untranslated in our Bibles. In the Latin Church the Alleluia is sung in the ordinary service, except during Lent. It is omitted from the Anglican Liturgy and Communion Service, but has revenged itself by keeping a place in the popular Easter hymn 'Jesus Christ is risen to-day,' which the writer remembers to have heard sung at Vespers by the French nuns at the Trinita de' Monti.

The Hallelujah Chorus in the Messiah is known to every one. Handel is reported to have said that when he wrote it 'he thought he saw Heaven opened, and the great God Himself.' The phrase 'For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth' is almost identical with that to 'I will sing … unto the Lord' in Israel in Egypt. He has written other Hallelujahs or Allelujahs—though none to compare with this—in Judas Maccabeus, the Occasional Oratorio, and the Coronation Anthems one of which was afterwards employed in Deborah. For the custom of standing during the performance of the Hallelujah Chorus see Handel, p. 651b.

In his 114th Psalm Mendelssohn has accented

{ \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \key g \major \relative d' { r4 r8 d d4. e8 fis4. fis8 fis4. g8 a2 } }
the Hallelujah in a manner not justified by the quantity of the Hebrew word.

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