Alexander's Feast, HWV 75

Alexander's Feast, HWV 75 is an ode with music by George Frideric Handel set to a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton. Hamilton adapted his libretto from John Dryden's ode Alexander's Feast, or the Power of Music, which had been written to celebrate Saint Cecilia's Day. Jeremiah Clarke set the original ode to music, now lost.  The music was written and premiered in 1736. The work describes a banquet held by Alexander the Great in the captured Persepolis, during which the musician Timotheus sings and plays his lyre, arousing various moods in Alexander until he is finally incited to burn the city down in revenge for his dead Greek soldiers. The piece was a great success and it encouraged Handel to make the transition from writing Italian operas to English choral works.

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