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MENDELSSOHN ELIJAH



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JAMES CONLON conductor
JULIANNA DI GIACOMO soprano
SARA MURPHY mezzo-soprano
ANTHONY DEAN GRIFFEY tenor
EGILS SILINS bass-baritone(Elijah)
KRISTINN SIGMUNDSSON bass-baritone
ABBY SHERRARDtreble soloist, member of Cincinnati Children’s Choir
CINCINNATI CHILDREN’S CHOIRRobyn Lana, artistic director
MAY FESTIVAL CHORUS Robert Porco, director

 
 

MENDELSSOHN
(1803-1869)

   
 

Elijah,Op. 70
    Part I

   

INTERMISSION

    Part II

       
   

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847)

Elijah,Op. 70

Composed 1845–46. Premiered on August 26, 1846 in Birmingham, England.

Although Mendelssohn first thought of composing an Elijah oratorio as far back as 1836, and although he worked with several librettists over a period of several years, he did not actually begin to compose the work until he received a commission in June 1845. The music was finished by July 1846. He subsequently revised the work. Mendelssohn introduced the revision in London on April 16, 1847.

It is ironic that the grandson of Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn should become a composer of such statements of Christian faith as the Te Deum, the oratorio St. Paul, the Magnificat, the Reformation Symphony, plus several hymns, motets, and cantatas. Moses Mendelssohn was considered by many to be the greatest Jew of his century. He was largely responsible for German Jews being able to break through religious and class barriers and to participate in European intellectual life. He was a philosopher who became a close friend of dramatist Gotthold Lessing, who based his best-known play Nathan the Wise on the elder Mendelssohn. German intellectuals were at first astounded but then intrigued by the fact that Lessing became closely involved with a Jew and wrote a play about him around the themes of freedom and tolerance. As a result, Mendelssohn was accepted by the intelligentsia. His essay on immortality, written in German rather than Yiddish, was widely read; it made him a more respected philosopher than even Kant. He translated the Old Testament into German for the sake of Jews whose Hebrew was not fluent. He believed that his people were foremost Germans and only secondarily Jews, and he felt that all religious rites should be conducted in the language of the people rather than in Hebrew. The main focus of Moses Mendelssohn’s life and work was to help his people leave their ghettos and join society as the equals of Protestants and Catholics. He did not live to see the actualization of this dream: he died in 1786, and the emancipation of Jews in Germany was officially decreed in 1812. But even then prejudice remained rampant.

One of the nine children of Moses Mendelssohn was Abraham, father of Felix. Although Abraham was only ten when Moses died, he accepted his father’s Jewish liberalism. Thus at the age of sixteen he joined the Society of Friends, dedicated to combating orthodoxy. Many of the members went so far as to have themselves baptized. When the official emancipation of Jews in Germany failed to rid the country of anti-Semitism, Abraham saw no contradiction in protecting his children by having them baptized as Protestants. Abraham’s wife, in fact, had been a strong advocate of conversion for years. He even followed the expediency of having himself baptized several years later, but he continued to think of himself as a Jew.

Although Felix was raised a Lutheran, he was proud of his Jewish heritage. Thus he felt no contradiction in basing the sequel to his successful oratorio St. Paul on an Old Testament theme. (Actually, he considered a work about Saint Peter before settling on Elijah.) The composer worked intermittently on ideas for an Elijah oratorio over a period of ten years. The impetus to complete the work came in the form of a commission from the Birmingham Music Festival. Mendelssohn sought the help of various librettists before settling on German theologian Julius Schubring. Schubring, who felt none of the composer’s affinity for the Old Testament, wanted to insert Christian elements. Mendelssohn rejected as ludicrous Schubring’s idea that Christ should appear to Elijah. The librettist also tried to insert passages from the New Testament (including a final chorus intended to proclaim the theological unity of the entire Bible), and he tried to convince the composer to use well-known Christian chorales. Even after the composer rejected these suggestions, Schubring tried to close the oratorio with a trio sung by Peter, John and James.

The differences between composer and librettist went deeper than their orientations toward Old vs. New Testament texts. Schubring saw the work as a pure and uplifting liturgical statement, while Mendelssohn wanted to create music that was at once religious and dramatic. By inserting New Testament passages, the librettist tried to portray Elijah as a forerunner of Christ. But for Mendelssohn, Elijah was the powerful prophet of Israel. Yet Schubring’s view prevailed in part. Thus we find the work ending with biblical verses that have nothing to do with Elijah. “With such a subject as Elijah…the dramatic element must predominate,” Mendelssohn wrote to Schubring. “The people must be introduced speaking and acting as living persons.… All should come across to us through the mouths and manner of the participants.” Schubring followed this dramatic requirement almost too well. It is sometimes difficult to tell who is speaking or singing without consulting a written synopsis (such as that provided below), since many soloists assume more than one role. “I cannot stand the half-operatic character of most oratorio texts (where the authors help themselves out with generalized figures, as, for instance, ‘an Israelite,’ ‘a maiden,’ etc.,” Mendelssohn wrote, “I consider this weak and will have none of it. But really, the eternal ‘he said,’ etc., is not the right thing either.” Thus the composer rejected the typical oratorio’s role of a narrator who tells the story.

Mendelssohn and Schubring agreed to fashion a dramatic work with only a few consistent characters and without narration. For the sense of drama they turned to a series of individual scenes from the Bible. They worked with Luther’s translation of the Old Testament, yet the composer—true to the principles of his grandfather—felt that the work should be sung in the language of its listeners. A translation into English was therefore necessary for the premiere.

The first performance of the original German version was given some months after the English premiere. Mendelssohn was in addition scheduled to conduct the oratorio with a chorus of one thousand on November 14, 1847 in Vienna. His death ten days before that performance turned it into a grandiose memorial concert. The work subsequently became extremely popular, particularly in England and America, where it has been performed countless times by amateur as well as professional forces. It was chosen to inaugurate New York’s Carnegie Hall. On May 6, 1891, a chorus of 600 sang it on the hall’s second concert. To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Carnegie Hall, Jesús López-Cobos, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the May Festival Chorus were invited to recreate this concert at Carnegie Hall.

The task of translating Schubring’s German text, based on Luther’s version of Scriptures, fell to William Bartholomew, a painter and chemist who had previously translated many other Mendelssohn works into English. Bartholomew faced a formidable challenge. Since the Old Testament was known in England through the King James Version of the Bible, he had to remain as faithful as possible to that text. Yet the English had nonetheless to fit the music Mendelssohn had composed for Luther’s German words. The composer was particularly concerned that the words should be understood, and he frequently criticized Bartholomew’s work when it did not follow the accentuation of the music.

The problem of translation is exemplified at the opening of the work, where Elijah declares God’s curse of drought. This brief introduction is followed by the overture, which represents the ravages of the three-year famine on the people of Israel. The quiet horn motive that accompanies the main subject of the fugal overture was supposed to echo the final line of the introduction: “Ich sage es denn.” When he composed the overture, Mendelssohn was not aware of the sanctity of the King James Version in England. The King James translation of the line — “but according to my word” — has consider ably different rhythm from the original German. Yet the composer insisted on preserving the King James translation, in deference to English tastes, rather than alter it to fit the music. As a result, the introduction’s sung line and the overture’s horn motive have somewhat different rhythms when the work is performed in English.

The turbulent fugue depicts the tragedy of the curse. In the ensuing plaintive chorus (No. 1), the people beg again and again for God’s help. The intensity is as great as in the fugue, with the counterpoint letting up only as the people ask in desperation, “Will then the Lord be no more God in Zion?” Two sopranos sing an elegiac melody, “Zion spreadeth her hands for aid,” in alternation with the chorus’s plea, “Lord, bow Thine ear to our prayer” (No. 2). After a recitative (No. 3) and aria (No. 4), sung by Elijah’s friend Obadiah, the people bemoan God’s jealous wrath and then, as the chorus shifts from minor to major, praise His forgiveness (No. 5).

Elijah goes to Cherith’s brook, where he drinks the water and is fed by ravens (No. 6). He is protected by a double quartet of angels (No. 7). Once the brook dries up, one angel (alto recitative) tells Elijah to find a widow, who will sustain him until the end of the drought. In a moving soprano solo (No. 8), the widow bemoans her dead son and begs Elijah to bring him back to life. The prophet entreats God three times. In an almost operatic fashion, the music moves from the plaintive to the triumphant as the boy revives. A pastoral chorus (No. 9) praises God and those who fear Him.

The next scene begins with a restatement of the opening plague music. Elijah stands accused of causing Israel’s troubles (No. 10). He responds that the people have brought their problems on themselves by worshipping false gods. Elijah challenges the priests of the god Baal. In a duel of the gods, they pray to Baal (No. 11) as Elijah prays to his God. Baal’s failure to answer is symbolized by dramatic silences. Elijah mockingly demands that the priests pray louder (No. 12). Ironically, Elijah taunts them with the same musical motive they use to implore Baal (No. 13). Still there is no answer. When Baal fails to appear and to end the drought, Elijah exhorts the people of Israel to turn their prayers to the one true God (No. 14). Elijah orders the priests of Baal slain (No. 16). An alto reproaches those who have forsaken God (No. 18). Elijah turns away from the bloodbath to join the people in praying to God (No. 19). Three times he sends a youth to see if rain clouds have appeared. Three times there are none. Finally the boy sees a little cloud in the distance. By denouncing false gods and accepting the one true God, the people of Israel have been saved. Elijah has led them to their father and hence their salvation. The rains at last come. In the mighty final chorus of Part I (No. 20), the people sing thanks to the one true Lord.

Part II of Elijah alternates scenes that further the plot with those that present Bible passages, including sayings of the prophets. The first scene begins with a soprano aria of comfort and dignity (No. 21), followed by a chorus expressing similar sentiments (No. 22). The story continues when Elijah appears before King Ahab and Queen Jezebel (No. 23). Elijah accuses the king of having angered God by worshipping Baal. The queen in turn accuses Elijah of treachery against the people of Israel and of trying to usurp King Ahab’s power. With mounting fury Queen Jezebel tells the people that Elijah must perish because he destroyed the priests of Baal. She even convinces the Israelites that Elijah was responsible for the famine. The mob (chorus) goes after Elijah (No. 24).

The prophet’s friend Obadiah tells him to flee for his life (No. 25). Elijah goes into the wilderness, where he longs for death. The aria “It is enough” (No. 26) beautifully portrays his despondency with a poignant melody accompanied by a cello. The prophet’s anger at the people of Israel flares up, but his despair returns. An unaccompanied trio, sometimes performed by a boychoir, portrays angels comforting the prophet (No. 28).

An angel (alto) summons Elijah to arise and journey 40 days to Mount Horeb, where the Lord will reveal Himself (No. 30). In the emotional climax of the oratorio, Elijah cries out that all his efforts have been in vain. He has failed to make the people of Israel accept God. Elijah’s faith falters, as he asks God why He created His own adversaries and hardened their hearts against Him. The angel returns to comfort Elijah, telling him again and again in a beautiful aria to wait for God and not be concerned with evil doers (No. 31). The final time, the alto lingers on the word “wait,” thus symbolically showing that Elijah’s one remaining task is his hardest: to be patient. The chorus sings a chorale that states the lesson Elijah must learn: “He that shall endure to the end shall be saved” (No. 32).

The appearance of the Lord is heralded with stunning music which vividly depicts first a tempest, then an earthquake, and finally fire—in none of which can God be found (No. 34). Rather, He is “a small, still voice,” set beautifully with pure arpeggios. The chorus sings of the holiness of God (No. 35), who finally appears and commands Elijah: “Go, return upon thy way” (No. 36). Elijah accepts God. He has waited for the Lord and receives his peace: “Thy kindness shall not depart from me, neither shall the covenant of Thy peace be removed” (No. 37). The chorus sings of Elijah’s ascent into heaven (No. 38).

Here ends the story of Elijah. Mendelssohn had originally intended to bring the oratorio to a close here as well, but Schubring convinced him to add an aria (No. 39), recitative (No. 40), and several choruses (Nos. 41-43) that do not bear directly on the story or the personality of Elijah. The final chorus (No. 43), which glorifies God, is a brilliant fugue that forms a powerful conclusion to this massive work.

Jonathan D. Kramer

TEXT

PART I

Introduction
Elijah
As God the Lord of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years, but according to my word.
I Kings 17:1

Overture
1. Chorus and Recitative
The People
Help, Lord! wilt Thou quite destroy us? The harvest now is over, the summer days are gone, and yet no power cometh to help us! Will then the Lord be no more God in Zion?

Chorus
The deep affords no water, and the rivers are exhausted! The suckling’s tongue now cleaveth for thirst to his mouth; the infant children ask for bread, and there is no one breaketh it to feed them!
I Kings 17:7; Lamentations 4:4

2. Duet with Chorus
The People
Lord! bow Thine ear to our prayer!

Soprano and Alto
Zion spreadeth her hands for aid, and there is neither help nor comfort.
Psalm 86:1; Lamentations 1:17

3. Recitative
Obadiah
Ye people, rend your hearts, and not your garments; for your transgressions the prophet Elijah hath sealed the heavens through the word of God. I therefore say to ye: “Forsake your idols, return to God; for He is slow to anger, and merciful, and kind, and gracious, and repenteth Him of the evil.”
Joel 2:12,13

4. Aria
Obadiah
“If with all your hearts ye truly seek me, ye shall ever surely find me.” Thus saith our God. Oh! that I knew where I might find Him, that I might even come before His presence.
Deuteronomy 4:29; Job 23:3

5. Chorus
The People
Yet doth the Lord see it not. He mocketh at us; His curse hath fallen down upon us; His wrath will pursue us, till He destroy us! For He, the Lord our God, He is a jealous God, and He visiteth all the fathers’ sins on the children to the third and the fourth generation of them that hate Him. His mercies on thousands fall—fall on all them that love Him, and keep His commandments.
Deuteronomy 28:22; Exodus 20:5,6

6. Recitative
An Angel (Alto)
Elijah! Get thee hence, Elijah, depart and turn thee eastward; thither hide thee by Cherith’s brook. There shalt thou drink its waters, and the Lord thy God hath commanded the ravens to feed thee there: so do according unto His word.
I Kings 17:3,4

7. Double Quartet and Recitative
Chorus
For He shall give His angels charge over thee: that they shall protect thee in all the ways thou goest; that their hands shall uphold and guide thee, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Psalm 91:11,12
An Angel
Now Cherith’s brook is dried up, Elijah, arise and depart, and get thee to Zarepath; thither abide: for the Lord hath commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. And the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.
I Kings 17:7,9,14

8. Recitative, Aria and Duet
The Widow
What have I to do with thee, O man of God? Art thou come to me to call my sin unto remembrance? To slay my son art thou come hither? Help me, man of God, my son is sick! And his sickness is so sore that there is no breath left in him! I go mourning all the day long; I lie down and weep at night. See mine affliction. Be thou the orphan’s helper! Help my son! There is no breath left in him!

Elijah
Give me thy son. Turn unto her, O Lord my God, oh, turn in mercy; in mercy help this widow’s son! For Thou art gracious, and full of compassion, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Lord, my God, let the spirit of this child return, that he again may live!

The Widow
Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? There is no breath in him!

Elijah
Lord, my God, let the spirit of this child return, that he again may live!

The Widow
Shall the dead arise and praise thee?

Elijah
Lord, my God, let the spirit of this child return, that he again may live!

The Widow
The Lord hath heard thy prayer, the soul of my son reviveth!

Elijah
Now behold, thy son liveth.

The Widow
Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that His word in thy mouth is the truth. What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me?

Elijah and the Widow
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, love Him with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Oh, blessed are they who fear Him!
I Kings 17:17-19, 21-24; Job 10:15;
Psalms 38:6, 6.6, 10:14, 86:15, 16, 88:10,
116:12, 128:1; Deuteronomy 6:5

9. Chorus
Blessed are the men who fear Him: they ever walk in the ways of peace. Through darkness riseth light to the upright. He is gracious, compassionate: He is righteous.
Psalms 128:1; 112:1,4

10. Recitative
Elijah
As God the Lord of Sabaoth liveth, before whom I stand: three years this day fulfilled, I will show myself unto Ahab; and the Lord will then send rain again upon the earth.

Ahab
Art thou Elijah? Art thou he that troubleth Israel?

The People
Thou art Elijah, he that troubleth Israel!

Elijah
I never troubled Israel’s peace; it is thou, Ahab, and all thy father’s house. Ye have forsaken God’s commands, and thou hast followed Baalim! Now send and gather to me the whole of Israel unto Mount Carmel; there summon the prophets of Baal, and also the prophets of the groves, who are feasted at Jezebel’s table. Then we shall see whose god is the Lord.

The People
And then we shall see whose god is God, the Lord.

Elijah
Rise then, ye priests of Baal; select and slay a bullock, and put no fire under it; uplift your voices, and call the god ye worship; and I then will call on the Lord Jehovah: and the god who by fire shall answer, let him be God.

The People
Yea, and the god who by fire shall answer, let him be God.

Elijah
Call first upon your god; your numbers are many. I, even I only remain one prophet of the Lord! Invoke your forest gods and mountain deities.
I Kings 18:1, 15, 17-19, 22-25

11. Chorus
Priests of Baal
Baal, we cry to thee; hear and answer us! Heed the sacrifice we offer! Baal, oh, hear us, and answer us! Hear us Baal! Hear, mighty god! Baal, let thy flames fall and extirpate the foe! Baal, oh, hear us!

12. Recitative and Chorus
Elijah
Call him louder, for he is a god! He talketh, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey; or, peradventure, he sleepeth; so awaken him: call him louder.
Priests of Baal
Hear our cry, O Baal! Now arise! Wherefore slumber?

13. Recitative and Chorus
Elijah
Call him louder! He heareth not. With knives and lancets cut yourselves after your manner; leap upon the altar ye have made: call him and prophesy! Not a voice will answer you: none will listen, none heed you.
Priests of Baal
Baal! Hear and answer, Baal! Mark how the scorner derideth us! Hear and answer!
I Kings 18:26-29

14. Aria
Elijah
Draw near, all ye people, come to me! Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, this day let it be known that Thou art God, and I am Thy servant! Oh, show to all this people that I have done these things according to Thy word! Oh, hear me, Lord, and answer me, and show this people that Thou art Lord God and let their hearts again be turned!
I Kings 18:30, 36, 37

15. Quartet
Soloists
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He never will suffer the righteous to fall: He is at thy right hand. Thy mercy, Lord, is great, and far above the heavens. Let none be made ashamed that wait upon Thee.
Psalms 55:22, 16:8, 108:4, 25:3

16. Recitative and Chorus
Elijah
O Thou, who makest Thine angels spirits; Thou whose ministers are flaming fires, let them now descend!
Psalm 104:4

The People
The fire descends from heaven; the flames consume his offering! Before Him upon your faces fall! The Lord is God: O Israel, hear! Our God is one Lord; and we will have no other gods before the Lord!
I Kings 18:38, 39; Deuteronomy 5:7, 6:4

Elijah
Take all the prophets of Baal, and let not one of them escape you; bring them down to Kishon’s brook, and there let them be slain.

The People
Take all the prophets of Baal, and let not one of them escape us; bring all, and slay them!
I Kings 18:40

17. Aria
Elijah
Is not His word like a fire, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock into pieces? For God is angry with the wicked every day; and if the wicked turn not, the Lord will whet His sword; and He hath bent His bow, and made it ready.
Jeremiah 23:29; Psalm 7:11,12

18. Arioso
Alto
Woe unto them who forsake Him! Destruction shall fall upon them, for they have transgressed against Him. Though they are by Him redeemed, yet they have spoken falsely against Him, even from Him have they fled.
Hosea 7:13

19. Recitative
Obadiah
O man of God, help thy people! Among the idols of the Gentiles, are there any that can command the rain, or cause the heavens to give their showers? The Lord our God alone can do these things.

Elijah
O Lord, Thou hast overthrown Thine enemies and destroyed them. Look down on us from heaven, O Lord; regard the distress of Thy people; open the heavens and send us relief: help, help Thy servant now, O God!

The People
Open the heavens and send us relief: help, help Thy servant now, O God!

Elijah
Go up now, child, and look toward the sea. Hath my prayer been heard by the Lord?

The Youth
There is nothing. The heavens are as brass, they are as brass above me.

Elijah
When the heavens are closed up because they have sinned against Thee, yet if they pray and confess Thy name, and turn from their sin when Thou dost afflict them, then hear from heaven, and forgive the sin! Help, send Thy servant help, O God!

The People
Then hear from heaven, and forgive the sin. Help, send Thy servant help, O Lord!

Elijah
Go up again, and still look toward the sea.

The Youth
There is nothing. The earth is as iron under me!

Elijah
Hearest thou no sound of rain? Seeth thou nothing arise from the deep?

The Youth
No; there is nothing.

Elijah
Have respect to the prayer of Thy servant, O Lord, my God? Unto Thee I will cry, Lord, my rock; be not silent to me, and Thy great mercies remember, Lord!

The Youth
Behold, a little cloud ariseth now from the waters; it is like a man’s hand! The heavens are black with clouds and with wind: the storm rusheth louder and louder!

The People
Thanks be to God, for all His mercies!

Elijah
Thanks be to God, for He is gracious, and His mercy endureth for evermore!

20. Chorus
The People
Thanks be to God! He laveth the thirsty land! The waters gather, they rush along; they are lifting their voices! The stormy billows are high, their fury is mighty. But the Lord is above them, and almighty!
Jeremiah 14:22; II Chronicles 6:19, 26, 27;
Deuteronomy 28:23; Psalms 28:1, 106:1, 93:3-4;
I Kings 18:43-45

PART II
21. Aria
Soprano
Hear ye, Israel; hear what the Lord speaketh: “Oh, hadst thou heeded my commandments!” Who hath believed our report? To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to him oppressed by tyrants; thus saith the Lord: “I am He that comforteth; be not afraid, for I am thy God, I will strengthen thee. Say, who art thou, that thou art afraid of a man that shall die; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, who hath stretched forth the heavens and laid the earth’s foundations? Be not afraid, for I, thy God, will strengthen thee.”
Isaiah 48:1, 18, 53:1, 49:7, 41:10, 51:12,13

22. Chorus
“Be not afraid,” saith God the Lord. “Be not afraid! Thy help is near.” God the Lord thy God, saith unto thee, “Be not afraid!” Though thousands languish and fall beside thee, and tens of thousands around thee perish, yet still it shall not come nigh thee.
Isaiah 41:10; Psalms 91:7

23. Recitative
Elijah
The Lord hath exalted thee from among the people, and o’er His people Israel hath made thee king. But thou, Ahab, hast done evil to provoke Him to anger above all that were before thee, as if it had been a light thing for thee to walk in the sins of Jeroboam. Thou hast made a grove and an altar to Baal, and served him and worshipped him. Thou hast killed the righteous, and also taken possession. And the Lord shall smite all Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water; and He shall give Israel up, and thou shalt know He is the Lord.
I Kings 14:7,9,15, 16:30-33

Queen Jezebel
Have ye not heard he hath prophesied against all Israel?

Chorus
We heard it with our ears.

Queen Jezebel
Hath he not prophesied also against the king of Israel?

Chorus
We heard it with our ears.

Queen Jezebel
And why hath he spoken in the name of the Lord? Doth Ahab govern the kingdom of Israel, while Elijah’s power is greater than the king’s? The gods do so to me, and more, if, by tomorrow about this time, I make not his life as the life of one of them whom he hath sacrificed at the brook of Kishon!

Chorus
He shall perish!

Queen Jezebel
Hath he not destroyed Baal’s prophets?

Chorus
He shall perish!

Queen Jezebel
Yea, by sword he destroyed them all!

Chorus
He destroyed them all!

Queen Jezebel
He also closed the heavens!

Chorus
He also closed the heavens!

Queen Jezebel
And called down a famine upon the land.

Chorus
And called down a famine upon the land.

Queen Jezebel
So go ye forth and seize Elijah, for he is worthy to die; slaughter him! Do unto him as he hath done!

24. Chorus
Woe to him, he shall perish: he closed the heavens! And why hath he spoken in the name of the Lord? Let the guilty prophet perish! He hath spoken falsely against our land and us, as we have heard with our ears. So go ye forth; seize on him! He shall die!
Jeremiah 26:9,11; I Kings 18:10, 21:7;
Ecclesiasticus 48:2,3

25. Recitative
Obadiah
Man of God, now let my words be precious in thy sight. Thus saith Jezebel, “Elijah is worthy to die.” So the mighty gather against thee, and they have prepared a net for thy steps, that they may seize thee, that they may slay thee. Arise, then, and hasten for thy life, to the wilderness journey. The Lord thy God doth go with thee; He will not fail thee. Now be gone, and bless me also.

Elijah
Though stricken, they have not grieved! Tarry here, my servant; the Lord be with thee. I journey hence to the wilderness.
II Kings 1:1,3; Jeremiah 5:3, 26:11;
Psalms 59:3; I Kings 19:3,4; Deuteronomy 31:6; Exodus 12:32; I Samuel 17:37

26. Aria
Elijah
It is enough; O Lord, now take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers! I desire to live no longer; now let me die, for my days are but vanity! I have been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts! For the children of Israel have broken Thy covenant and thrown down Thine altars and slain all Thy prophets, slain them with the sword; and I, even I, only am left, and they seek my life to take it away.
Job 7:16; I Kings 19:4,10

27. Recitative
Tenor
See, now he sleepeth beneath a juniper tree in the wilderness; and there the angels of the Lord encamp round about all them that fear Him.
I Kings 19:5; Psalms 34:7

28. Trio
Lift thine eyes to the mountains, whence cometh help. Thy help cometh from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He hath said, “Thy foot shall not be moved; thy keeper will never slumber.”
Psalm 121:1-3

29. Chorus
Angels
He, watching over Israel, slumbers not, nor sleeps. Shouldst thou, walking in grief, languish. He will quicken thee.
Psalms 121:4, 138:7

30. Recitative
An Angel (Alto)
Arise, Elijah, for thou hast a long journey before thee. Forty days and forty nights shalt thou go to Horeb, the mount of God.
I Kings 19:7,8

Elijah
O Lord, I have labored in vain. Yea, I have spent my strength for naught! Oh, that Thou wouldst rend the heavens, that Thou wouldst come down; that the mountains would flow down at Thy presence, to make Thy name known to Thine adversaries, through the wonders of Thy works! Lord, why hast Thou made them err from Thy ways, and hardened their hearts, that they do not fear Thee? Oh, that I now might die!
Isaiah 49:4, 64:1,2, 63:17; I Kings 19:4

31. Aria
An Angel (Alto)
O rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him, and He shall give thee thy heart’s desires. Commit thy way unto Him, and trust in Him, and fret not thyself because of evil doers.
Psalm 37:1,4,7

32. Chorus
He that shall endure to the end shall be saved.
Matthew 24:13

33. Recitative
Elijah
Night falleth round me, O Lord! Be Thou not far from me! Hide not Thy face, O Lord, from me; my soul is thirsting for Thee, as a thirsty land.
An Angel (Soprano)
Arise, now! Get thee without. Stand on the mount before the Lord; for there His glory will appear and shine on thee! Thy face must be veiled, for He draweth near.
Psalm 143:6,7; I Kings 19:11,13

34. Chorus
Behold! God the Lord passed by! And a mighty wind rent the mountains around, brake in pieces the rocks, brake them before the Lord; but yet the Lord was not in the tempest. Behold! God the Lord passed by! And the sea was upheaved, and the earth was shaken; but yet the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there came a fire; but yet the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came a still small voice, and in that still voice onward came the Lord.
I Kings 19:11,12

35. Recitative and Chorus
Alto and Chorus
Above Him stood the Seraphim, and one cried to another: “Holy, holy, holy is God the Lord—the Lord Sabaoth! Now His glory hath filled all the earth.”
Isaiah 6:2,3

36. Chorus and Recitative
Chorus
“Go, return upon thy way!” For the Lord yet hath left Him seven thousand in Israel, knees which have not bowed to Baal. “Go, return upon thy way.” Thus the Lord commandeth.
I Kings 19:15,18
Elijah
I go on my way in the strength of the Lord. For Thou art my Lord, and I will suffer for Thy sake. My heart is therefore glad, my glory rejoiceth, and my flesh shall also rest in hope.
Psalms 71:16, 16:9

37. Arioso
Elijah
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but Thy kindness shall not depart from me, neither shall the covenant of Thy peace be removed.
Isaiah 54:10

38. Chorus
Then did Elijah the prophet break forth like a fire; his words appeared like burning torches. Mighty kings by him were overthrown. He stood on the mount of Sinai and heard the judgements of the future; and in Horeb, its vengeance. And when the Lord would take him away to heaven, lo! there came a fiery chariot, with fiery horses; and he went by a whirlwind to heaven.
Ecclesiasticus 48:1,6,7; II Kings 2:1,11

39. Aria
Tenor
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in their heavenly Father’s realm. Joy on their head shall be for everlasting, and all sorrow and mourning shall flee away for ever.
Matthew 13:43; Isaiah 51:11

40. Recitative
Soprano
Behold, God hath sent Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children unto their fathers, lest the Lord shall come and smite the earth with a curse.
Malachi 4:5,6

41. Chorus
But the Lord, from the north, hath raised one, who, from the rising of the sun, shall call upon His name and come on princes. “Behold, my servant and mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth! On him the spirit God shall rest: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of might and of counsel, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” Thus saith the Lord: “I have raised one from the north, who, from the rising, on my name shall call.”
Isaiah 41:25, 42:1, 11:2

42. Quartet
Soloists
O come, everyone that thirsteth, O come to the waters. O come unto Him. O hear, and your souls shall live for ever.
Isaiah 55:1,3

43. Chorus
And then shall your light break forth as the light of morning breaketh, and your health shall speedily spring forth then, and the glory of the Lord ever shall reward you. Lord, our Creator, how excellent Thy name is in all the nations! Thou fillest heaven in Thy glory. Amen.
Isaiah 58:8; Psalm 8:1