Saturday 10 March 2018

7.15 pm
Trinity Methodist Church
Cottingham Road, Hull HU5 2EJ
(at the corner of Newland Avenue)

concert 3 image

Jephtha's daughter rushes to meet him on his return from battle
Painting by Benvenuto di Giovanni  (1436–1518)

Handel

Jephtha

This magnificent work was to all intents and purposes the last
major piece Handel ever composed, for his eyesight began to
fail during its composition, and after a botched operation he
lost his sight. Although he lived for another eight years and was
performing up till the last, any new compositions were either short
or alterations of earlier pieces. As we approach the end of the
commemorations of the First World War Jephtha gives us a chance
to remember the errors made by the generals in that war, which led
to such disastrous consequences.

The story of Jephtha is about his thoughtless vow to God that, if he
was successful in his next battle, he would sacrifice the first thing
he saw when he returned home. That ‘thing’ was his daughter Iphis.
This story gave Handel an enormous opportunity to use music to
express Jephtha’s dilemma. Despite the pleadings of his wife and
his daughter’s fiancé to break his vow, Jephtha sticks to it and his
daughter accepts her fate in a superb quartet.

Unlike the Bible, Handel and his librettist do not leave Iphis
to her tragic fate. Jephtha is allowed to break his vow and
thus save the life of his daughter. The work is a fitting finale
to the compositional life of a great composer, beautiful,
exciting, with great dramatic choruses and coloratura arias
and wonderful melodies. The performance will be enhanced
by stage movement.