Handel’s “Judas Maccabaeus”

December 13, 2023, 10:00 pm

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Detail of a framed marginal illustration of a man lighting the Hanukkah lamp with a congregation behind him
Lighting the Hanukkah lamp (Forli Siddur, Italy, 1383)

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, commemorates the story of Judas Maccabeus, who in 167 B.C.E. led the Maccabean Jews against the invasion by the Seleucids, thus preserving Jewish culture and religion by regaining control of Jerusalem and rededicating the Temple. Handel recast the story of Judas Maccabeus as a celebratory ode to King George II, with music of unprecedented refinement, gripping suspense, and drama. Recorded live in concert in Berlin’s Philharmonie, Justin Doyle leads the Berlin Academy for Ancient Music, RIAS Chamber Chorus and vocal soloists Anna Dennis, Helen Charlston, Benjamin Hullett, and Henry Waddington.

Thanks to WFMT’s association with the European Broadcasting Union, we’re able to bring you this program as a stream for thirty days following tonight’s broadcast. A blue “Listen” button will appear when the stream is accessible.


George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Thomas Morell (1703-1784), librettist
Judas Maccabaeus, oratorio in three acts, HWV 63

Anna Dennis, soprano; Helen Charlston, mezzo-soprano; Benjamin Hullett, tenor; Henry Waddington, bass
RIAS Chamber Chorus, Berlin
Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin
Justin Doyle, conductor