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oratorio

[awr-uh-tawr-ee-oh, -tohr-, or-] /ˌɔr əˈtɔr iˌoʊ, -ˈtoʊr-, ˌɒr-/
noun, plural oratorios.
1.
an extended musical composition with a text more or less dramatic in character and usually based upon a religious theme, for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra, and performed without action, costume, or scenery.
Origin
1625-1635
1625-35; < Italian: small chapel < Late Latin ōrātōrium oratory2; so named from the musical services in the church of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Rome
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for oratorio
  • Perhaps the problem is simply that as pastoral ode, neither opera nor oratorio, the work falls between pigeonholes.
  • Thenceforth, she made her career as a recitalist and an oratorio singer.
  • History of the oratorio, from its beginnings in the sixteenth century to its present-day form.
British Dictionary definitions for oratorio

oratorio

/ˌɒrəˈtɔːrɪəʊ/
noun (pl) -rios
1.
a dramatic but unstaged musical composition for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, based on a religious theme
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, literally: oratory², referring to the Church of the Oratory at Rome where musical services were held
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for oratorio
n.

"long musical composition, usually with a text based on Scripture," 1727 (in English from 1640s in native form oratory), from Italian oratorio (late 16c.), from Church Latin oratorium (see oratory (n.2)), in reference to musical services in the church of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Rome, where old mystery plays were adapted to religious services.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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oratorio in Culture

oratorio definition


A musical composition for voices and orchestra, telling a religious story.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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8
8
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