The oratorio Samson is one of G.F. Handel’s great oratorios. The libretto isbased on John Milton’s dramatization of the biblical book of Judges, Samson Agonistes.
“Let the Bright Seraphim” is performed at theend of Samson, before the finalchorus. Sung by an anonymous “IsraeliteWoman,” the aria summons the angelic hosts of seraphim and cherubim to honorthe dead hero, with trumpets and harps. Performedseparately from the oratorio, “Let the Bright Seraphim” is treated as a Da Capoaria, but within its original context, the repeat of the A section would not beperformed, and the aria would have proceeded directly into the chorus after itscontrasting B section. Although “Let theBright Seraphim” was intended to be uplifting and joyous, it is interestingthat Handel would use a minor mode in the B section.
This is interesting because I believe that hedoes not stray away from the techniques of the A section, and effectively usesminor-mode tones in a joyous way. Usingterminology and concepts from Kofi Agawu, Seth Monahan, and Deborah Stein, Iwill analyze how the text, rhythm, and harmony are used in order to understand howHandel effectively composed this exuberant aria.