Read Messiah: The Composition and Afterlife of Handel's Masterpiece by Jonathan Keates Online

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From Handel's renowned biographer, the story of one of the most celebrated compositions of Western classical music, Handel's famous oratorio, Messiah In the late summer of 1741, George Friderick Handel, composed an oratorio set to words from the King James Bible, rich in tuneful arias and magnificent choruses. Jonathan Keates recounts the history and afterlife of Messiah,From Handel's renowned biographer, the story of one of the most celebrated compositions of Western classical music, Handel's famous oratorio, Messiah In the late summer of 1741, George Friderick Handel, composed an oratorio set to words from the King James Bible, rich in tuneful arias and magnificent choruses. Jonathan Keates recounts the history and afterlife of Messiah, one of the best-loved works in the classical repertoire. He relates the composition's first performances and its relationship with spirituality in the age of the Enlightenment, and examines how Messiah, after Handel's death, became an essential component of our musical canon. An authoritative and affectionate celebration of the high-point of the Georgian golden age of music, Messiah is essential reading for lovers of classical music....

Title : Messiah: The Composition and Afterlife of Handel's Masterpiece
Author :
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ISBN : 9781541697355
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 176 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Messiah: The Composition and Afterlife of Handel's Masterpiece Reviews

  • Barry
    2019-03-15 21:14

    Maybe this book was a little boring. Maybe I just wasn’t as interested in the topic as I thought I was. I’d give it 2.5 if I could. I think a 30 minute documentary on the history of Handel’s Messiah with clips of the music, and examples of the variations over the years, would have been much more worthwhile.

  • Tim Williams
    2019-02-23 16:36

    My husband gave me this book for Christmas because he knows how much I love Messiah and because I sang in the Eugene Symphony's performance of the oratorio this year. It was the second time I had sung in the chorus, and I loved it just as much, if not more. All this to say--it was the perfect time to read this slim but entertaining book. This could be considered a cultural biography of a work of music. The author does a fine job explaining Handel's background, the world of early eighteenth-century music, the cooperation between Handel and his librettist, and the musical innovations of this particular musical genre. I had a sense, but never knew for certain, that Handel never finished a "definitive" score for this famous work. Instead, he adjusted it based on performance location (e.g., Dublin v. London), and performers (castrati v. soprani). The most riveting aspect of the book, is its discussion of performances after Handel's death, especially in the Victorian era. The author explains that 1857, when the piece was performed as part of the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London, was the beginning of the large-scale, big orchestra performance of the oratorio. He argues that this presentation of Handel fit perfectly into an age of nationalisms and romanticization of national culture. As someone who studies these themes during this period, I found this discussion really interesting.I also did not realize that efforts in today's music landscape to return to Handel's small, baroque chamber sounds was relatively new. Very interesting read.

  • Jon
    2019-02-25 19:16

    Dryasdust summary of what the title says. I learned a little about Charles Jennens, the man who selected the Bible passages that make up the libretto of Handel's masterpiece; and I learned just how big the thing got in the 19th century (chorus of 3000, orchestra of 460); but I expected a bit more meat on the bones, not only in descriptions of Handel and his personality, but in analysis of the work itself. I love Messiah (I've sung in a chorus doing it at Christmastime for the last 20-something years), but I'd say skip the book, get out your CD, and read the notes there. You'll get the gist. And then really listen to it.

  • Andrea Engle
    2019-03-16 15:29

    An exciting window on the world of George Friderik Handel in 1741, when his masterpiece, The Messiah, was first performed in Dublin ... with the aid of his libretist, Charles Jennings, who relied heavily on the King James Version of the Bible, Handel assembled a sure-fire hit ... tweaked by the composer frequently, to accommodate different artists and available instruments, and expanded beyond his limits after Handel's death, current Early-Music practices have returned The Messiah to its Georgian roots ... most intriguing ...

  • George
    2019-03-23 20:35

    Interesting in depth look at Messiah, it’s origins, it’s enduring popularity, and rediscovery as a work of art after nearly three centuries of over blown performance. Lots of discussion of librettist Charles Jennens as well.

  • Andrew
    2019-03-22 23:17

    *2.5 stars*A swift - perhaps too swift - appreciation of Handel's background and the composition, performance, and endurance of The Messiah. Feels half-way between programme notes and a really interesting book.

  • Daniel
    2019-03-15 23:12

    I enjoyed learning a little about Charles Jennens. I thought it was a solid book.