Sacred or secular musical composition with libretto usually consisting of arias, recitatives, choruses, and orchestral music; sometimes includes spoken narration or dialog; action, costume, and scenery sometimes used till ca. 1730. The name oratorio seems derived from dramatic services of F. de' Neri* at an oratory in Rome.
A. Hammerschmidt* contributed to the early development of the oratorio. Oratorios in the more modern sense were written by A. Scarlatti,* A. Lotti,* J. A. Hasse,* and N. Jommelli. Lath. composers of oratorios include H. Schütz,* J. S. Bach* (whose Christmas Oratorio is a series of 6 cantatas integrated into a unit), and K. P. E. Bach.* Eng. composers of oratorios include G. F. Handel,* who influenced F. J. Haydn.* Oedipus Rex, a scenic oratorio by Igor Fedorovich Stravinsky (b. 1882 at Oranienbaum, near St. Petersburg, Russ.), has been accorded great acclaim.
See also Elgar, Edward; Franck, César Auguste; Gounod, Charles François; Hindemith, Paul; Honegger, Arthur; Liszt, Franz; Massenet, Jules Émile Frédéric; Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Jakob Ludwig Felix; Saint-Saens, Camille; Spohr, Ludwig.
A. Schering, Geschichte des Oratoriums (Leipzig, 1911); A. W. Patterson, The Story of Oratorio (London, 1915).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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