BOOKS

TITLE: HANDEL'S MESSIAH: A MUSICAL, HISTORICAL & THEOLOGICAL STUDY
AUTHOR: GRETCHEN SIMMONS BROWN
PUBLISHER: FRUITBEARER PUBLISHING LLC
ISBN (HARDCOVER): N/A
ISBN (PAPERBACK): 1886068438
UPC/EAN: 978-1886068438
LCCN: UNKNOWN
PUB. DATE: NOVEMBER 10, 2010
SERIES: N/A
PAGES: 290 P.
PUB. LOCATION: GEORGETOWN, DELAWARE
DDC: UNKNOWN
EXCERPT: CLICK HERE FOR SAMPLE PAGE (.PDF)


DESCRIPTION:  So youíve got tickets to hear Handelís MESSIAH. Or, better yet, youíre singing in the choir. Hallelujah! This book is designed as a manual to MESSIAH, following the masterwork chapter-by-chapter in an easy-to-understand manner. It is written for a new generation of music students, chorus singers, choir directors, organists, instrumentalists, ministers, conductors, or passionate concert listeners. This manual will:

- Explain the scriptural text in its historic setting
- Reveal how Handel was inspired to put Scripture to music
- Offer some friendly tips on interpretation and performance
- Explore a musical analysis of each movement
- Provide background on particular solo arias or choruses
- Surprise you with facts about the man behind the music  

SITE RATING:  4/10
SITE REVIEW:  Aimed at the Christian music market, Getchen Simmons Brown's book Handel's Messiah: A Musical, Historical & Theological Study manages to navigate the many movements of Handel's oratorio in a straightforward manner, and succeeds, for the most part, to fulfil its self-proclaimed  purpose, giving brief, somewhat enlightening insight into performing Messiah.  Ms. Brown, who holds degrees in both music education and a masters of theological studies, clearly intends this book for students of a similar stripe as her own: she melds basic, reader-friendly music theory and cheerful ecclesiastical homilies in a somewhat uneasy side-by-side running commentary, beginning each segment with a statement of Handel's intentions for the aria or chorus, followed by a musical example illustrating what she's explaining, and then adding an impassioned Christian (specifically, Episcopalian)  interpretation of the meaning of the text.  I found the joining of the two distinct schools of thought to be incompatible, with the musicological side a bit thin, obviously aimed at Messiah beginners, and the theological treatises a bit gushy and slanted towards her particular interpretation of the texts, which includes lots of exclamation points.  In fact, the author's most passionate writings are when she turns to the theological paragraphs, which leads me to consider the title of the book a bit misleading - the theological tenants espoused being the primary reason this book exists, and as such, will most likely appeal to those of the same ecclesiastical mold as the author.

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