George Frederick Handel

Joseph and His Brethren, oratorio, HWV 59

    Description by Rita Laurance

    Handel composed Joseph and His Brethren shortly after Semele, and premiered it in the 1744 oratorio season. The libretto, which is very poor, is by the Reverend James Miller. The story is confused, the poetry exceedingly bad, and the characterizations completely uninspiring. Handel treated it with something akin to indifference, although there are as usual some fine choral numbers. It really is one of his biggest failures. The oratorio was not a popular success with the public either, although Handel revived it several times during his life.


    1. Symphony in E minor
    2. Be firm, my soul!
    3. But wherefore thus?
    4. Be firm, my soul!
    5. Joseph, thy fame has reach'd great Pharaoh's ear
    6. Come, divine inspirer, come
    7. Pardon, that I so long forgot thee
    8. Ingratitude's the queen of crimes
    9. Thus, stranger, I have laid my troubled thoughts
    10. O God of Joseph gracious shed thy spirit
    11. Pharaoh, thy dreams are one...
    12. The seven fat cattle, and full ears of corn
    13. Divine interpreter! What oracle
    14. O lovely youth, with wisdom cron'd
    15. Wear, worthy man, this Royal signet
    16. Joyfoul sounds, melodious strains!
    17. Whence this unwonted ardour in my breast?
    18. I feel a spreading flame
    19. Fair Asenath, I've ask'd thee of thy father
    20. Zaphnath, I grant thy
    21. Celestial virgin! Godlike youth!
    22. Now, Potiphera, instant to the temple
    23. March in D major
    24. 'Tis done, the sacred Knot is tied
    25. Pow'rful guardians of all nature
    26. Immortal pleasures crown this pair
    27. Glorious and happy if thy lot
    28. Since the race of time begun
    29. Swift our numbers, swiftly roll
    30. Hail, thou youth, by Heav'n belov'd
    31. How vast a theme has Egypt for applause!
    32. Our fruits, whilst yet in blossom
    33. He's Egypt's common parent
    34. Blest be the man by pow'r unstain'd
    35. Phanor, we mention not his highest glory!
    36. Together, lovely innocents, grow up
    37. He then is silent, then again exclaims
    38. Where are these Bretren...
    39. Remorse, confusion, horror
    40. This Hebrew prisoner
    41. Ye departed hours, what happier moments have I seen!
    42. The peasant tastes the sweets of life
    43. But Simeon comes
    44. I tremble at his presence!
    45. Impostor! Ah! my foul offence
    46. Whence, Asenath, this grief that hangs
    47. This silverstream, that all it's way
    48. Tell me, thy heart's malady
    49. Fear not, peace be unto you
    50. To keep afar from all offence
    51. Thus one with ev'ry virture crown'd
    52. Once more, o pious Zaphnath
    53. Our reverend Sire intreats thee to accept
    54. This kiss, my gracious Lord
    55. Thou deign'st to call thy servant son (Arioso)
    56. Sweet innocence! Divine simplicity!
    57. O God, who in thy heav'nly hand
    58. Symphony in A major
    59. What say'st thou, Phanor?
    60. The wanton favours of the great
    61. Whence so disturb'd, my Lord?
    62. Ah Jealousy, thou pelican!
    63. O wrong me not!
    64. The people's favour, and the smiles of pow'r
    65. Art thou not Zaphnath?
    66. Prophetic raptures swell
    67. They come, and indignation in their looks
    68. Whence this vile treatment!
    69. At length the cup is found
    70. What, without me?
    71. O pity! Ah! I must not hear
    72. To prison with him!
    73. The man who flies the wretched
    74. What counsel can we take?
    75. O gracious God, we merit well this scourge (Arioso)
    76. Eternal monarch of the sky
    77. But peace, Zaphnath returns
    78. How not departed?
    79. Thou had'st, my Lord, a father once (Arioso)
    80. Give him up the lad
    81. Lay all on me
    82. I can no longer Phanor, bring the youth
    83. Joseph! O Heav'n! wretched we!
    84. Whilst the Nile and Memphis
    85. What's sweeter than the newblown rose
    86. With songs of ardent gratitude and praise
    87. We will rejoice
    88. Menuet in D major (Supplemental)
    89. Whence this unwonted ardour in my breast? (Supplemental)
    90. I feel a spreading flame (Supplemental)
    91. Our fruits, whilst yet in blossom (Supplemental)
    92. Be gone away thou'rt baneful to my eye (Supplemental)
    93. The wanton favour of the great (Supplemental)

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    1996 Hyperion 67171/73