symphony = long classical work?

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 3 05:39:04 UTC 2010

In an Advent liturgy built around selections from Handel's Messiah, I
came across the wording

Quiet descends upon the concert hall as the conductor raises his baton
to begin the overture of a familiar symphony--Handel's Messiah.

I googled "Handel symphony" and the first several pages were all links
to performances of Messiah and the names of the symphony orchestras
performing.  I didn't find symphony used in this sense.  OED also does
not have this meaning, although there are one or two meanings found up
into the mid 19th c. that are close.  I couldn't find the usage in
Wiktionary or Urban Dictionary.

Is "symphony" going the way of "novel" or is this a nonce occurrence?


The American Dialect Society -

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