BOOKS

TITLE: MESSIAH: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO HANDEL'S ORATORIO
AUTHOR: ROGER A. BULLARD
PUBLISHER: WM. B. EERDMAN'S PUBLISHING CO.
ISBN (HARDCOVER): N/A
ISBN (PAPERBACK): 0802801250; 1579105661
UPC/EAN: 9780802801258
LCCN: ML410.H13B88
YEAR: 1993
SERIES: N/A
PAGES: 160 P.
PUB. LOCATION: GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN
DDC: 782.23
EXCERPT: CLICK HERE FOR SAMPLE PAGE (.PDF)


DESCRIPTION:  Bullard provides an informed, readable commentary specifically on the libretto, or text, of Handel's Messiah, explaining each part in terms of: how the language differs from the King James Version of the Bible; what the passage of Scripture meant in its original context; and how the citation fits in the artistic and religious structure of the oratorio as a whole.

SITE RATING:  7/10
SITE REVIEW:  There have been several books which have dealt with Messiah as an ecumenical document; that is, an oratorio having meaning exclusively to church-goers, and the libretto, having been adapted freely from scripture and other religous sources, can be "reverse engineered" and treated exclusively as Christian Property.  There are numerous "devotional" books which, using Messiah's libretto - provide daily lessons for the evangelistic sects.  This site is not going to review those heavily subjective tomes.  But Messiah: The Gospel According To Handel's Oratorio, by Roger Bullard, has value outside the religous field, in particular for performers who are approaching Messiahfor the first time, or who wish to delve more deeply into the meaning of the text.  Many performers make the mistake of ignoring the power of Messiah's libretto in favor of a myopic, music-only focus, which is a mistake, since for many, the music/libretto marriage is what has made Messiah not only popular, but immortal.  While Bullard doesn't shy away from connecting the scriptural sources to his own ideas of sacred history, he more often applies his scriptural and historical knowledge to the origins of the libretto - the reasons why the scriptures and passages chosen for Messiah were written, and places them in context of how they inform the oratorio as a whole. Performers I think will find valuable lessons in why "Comfort Ye My People" should be sung as an exultation of joy; or how the author of the Hebrews scripture quoted might have used Plato as a templet for convicing people of the divinity of Christ?  There is much thoughtful analysis evident throughout the book, and although the author relies heavily upon Christian tradition for some of his conclusions, I found the book to be valuable to the layman, novice, and experienced Messiah enthusiast.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
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