Handel’s oratorio Messiah is a phenomenon with no parallel in music history. No other work of music has been so popular for so long. Yet familiarity can sometimes breed contempt — and also misunderstanding.
This book, by music expert Calvin Stapert, will greatly increase understanding and appreciation of Handel’s majestic Messiah, whether listeners are old friends of this remarkable work or have only just discovered its magnificence.
Stapert provides fascinating historical background, tracing not only Messiah’s unlikely inception but also its amazing reception throughout history. The bulk of the book offers scene-by-scene musical and theological commentary on the whole work, focusing on the way Handel’s music beautifully interprets and illuminates the biblical text.
For anyone seeking to appreciate Handel’s Messiah more, this informed yet accessible guide is the audiobook to have.
We were arguing if a book about a piece if music could be called a biography. I think so, as 'Messiah' has almost taken on a life of it's own. The book gives a potted bio of Handel and Jennings as well as the work, and some of the political and theological context that lead to it's writing.
However, you will need a copy of the full work to hand to get the best out of the last part of this recording.Yes, there are some extracts but nowhere near enough. I loved the analysis of the score (engaging and not the least dry) but needed to flick back and forward between the 'book' and the music itself to get the most out of it. And, boy, did we! It now makes sense in a way it never did, despite being very familiar with the work.
This will be back on my MP3 in the future.
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