Worthy is the Lamb


In 2020, our church choir planned to sing the last piece from the Handel Messiah, Worthy Is The Lamb That Was Slain, with the Amen on Easter Sunday. The text is from Revelation 5:12-13. While I had heard it many times and loved it, I had never sung the piece.

Then COVID happened. What a killjoy. It literally killed my joy of singing. 

In 2023, our church choir will sing Worthy Is The Lamb That Was Slain with several instrumentalists on Easter Sunday. The trickiest part for me is the melisma in the Amen, especially starting at measure 110 when the four parts interweave. What has been helpful is a video at Chord Perfect. I’ve been studying the bass part, but here are the soprano, alto, and tenor. CyberBass is a similar service. 

Then at the end of the service, as we did every year I’ve been a member, except for 2020 and 2021, the choir will finish with the Hallelujah chorus. And once again, members of the congregation who know the piece will come forward and join in. It is a joyous celebration. 

Speaking of which…

Every week at 8 pm ET, someone in the choir looks at the community level in Albany County. In 2022, to the best of my recollection, it was green (low) for only one week, just before Easter.

In 2023, it’s been green (low) for THREE weeks, which may be meaningless for all unconcerned about the virus.  For those of us who still care, it’s excellent news. I should note that one choir tested positive for COVID this week, so I took my first test this week in a few months. It’s negative, just the seasonal allergies.

By the way, Rensselaer County (Troy) has been in lockstep with Albany County, COVID-wise, since I began tracking the results weekly in late 2021.

So it will be a very happy Easter for this group of singers and the community.

Worthy Is The Lamb That Was Slain – VOCES8 & Academy of Ancient Music

Worthy Is The Lamb That Was Slain -| The Tabernacle Choir

(Grammarly wants me to change it to The Slain Lamb)

Hallelujah – with vocal score

Hallelujah – Choir of King’s College, Cambridge 

And what the heck

Hallelujah – A Soulful Celebration

Handel: Worthy Is the Lamb

Blessing and honor

Worthy is the LambIf you had asked me earlier this year if I had ever sung Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain I would have said no. This is why I don’t trust my memory.

There’s a gentleman named Don Ingram who played organ. For his 70th birthday, he conducted a 2002 performance of the entire Messiah. I found the program I recently found in MY Messiah score. Doesn’t EVERYONE have a Messiah score? It sits on the shelf right next to my Mozart Requiem score, naturally.

Messiah was composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, and first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742. It received “its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.”

The choruses for the first part of the Messiah I’ve sung several times. It’s often performed during Advent, that period just before Christmas. That includes And the Glory of the Lord, And He Shall Purify the Sons of Levi, For Unto Us a Child is Born, and Glory to God in the Highest. The first I’ve likely sung the most.

The second section addresses the Lent to Easter period. Behold the Lamb of God, Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs and Carried Our Sorrows, and All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray I’ve performed a few times, but there are other pieces less familiar to me.

But THE most familiar piece in the whole work is in that section. Hallelujah I’ve sung almost every Easter morning for decades.

Part the third

Part 3 is sometimes performed in that period between Easter and Pentecost. Since by Man Came Death I’ve sung a bit. But less so for Thanks Be to God.

If it had not been for the shutdown, I would be singing Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain/Amen tomorrow. I find it inspirational. And the final cadence of the Amen is even emotional. I find lots of final phrases in familiar classical music make me verklempt.

Listen to Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Hallelujah chorus.

Since by Man Came Death.

But Thanks Be to God.

Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain/Amen.


Handel Messiah Part 3 – Octopus Symphony Chorus.

Handel Messiah, complete – London Philharmonic.

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