Thesis

A Conductor’s Guide to Dr. Brett Stewart’s Oratorio, “Messiah in America.”

After many years of grand oratorios, such as Handel’s Messiah, Mendelsohn’s Elijah, and Haydn’s The Creation, the labeling of large works as oratorios became less common. Furthermore, many oratorios composed in the twentieth century utilize secular texts instead of sacred texts. Composer and conductor Dr. Brett Stewart brought new life to the oratorio genre in 2010-2011 when he composed, co-conducted, and recorded the oratorio Messiah in America. This oratorio contains thirty-four movements with a large symphony orchestra, organ, piano, occasional extended percussion, a large four to eight-part choir, SATB soloists, and a children’s choir. The text used in Messiah in America comes from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ standard works The Book of Mormon and The New Testament of the King James Version of the Holy Bible, John 10:16. The story depicted in Messiah in America tells of a visit by Jesus Christ, after his resurrection, to the inhabitants in the Americas. This project report will be an overview of Messiah in America. It will include the history of the composer and this oratorio, as well as details regarding the latter’s structure, harmonics, and performance practices. Additionally, an account will be made of my graduate school recital on March 12, 2016 and preparations made for that recital. The recital featured movements from the oratorio.

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