BOOKS

TITLE: HANDEL'S MESSIAH: A TOUCHSTONE OF TASTE
AUTHOR: ROBERT MANSON MYERS
PUBLISHER: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
ISBN (HARDCOVER): 1199075280
ISBN (PAPERBACK): N/A
UPC/EAN: N/A
LCCN: N/A
YEAR: 1948
SERIES: N/A
PAGES: 338 P.
PUB. LOCATION: NEW YORK
DDC: ML410.H13 M97
EXCERPT: CLICK HERE FOR SAMPLE PAGE (.PDF)


DESCRIPTION:  Written as a doctrinal dissertation at Columbia University, Dr. Robert Manson Myers' look at Handel's Messiah through the ages is unparalleled in its scope and depth.  Using first-hand accounts of how Messiah impacted both its contemporaries attitudes, and following revivals, recastings, and reevaluations, Dr. Myers has woven an intricate tapestry of classical and modern thought on the impact of Messiah, and it's ongoing legacy.

SITE RATING:  10/10
SITE REVIEW: Dr. Robert Manson Myers' 1948 examination of Handel's Messiah is a pure pleasure to read.  Myers - who taught English at Yale University, the College of William and Mary, Tulane University, and the University of Maryland, before retiring in 1986, was a Fulbright scholar at the University of London, and he won the prestigious National Book Award in 1973 for "The Children of Pride."  In this early work, Myers command of writing and persuasion are already in full bloom, and, as befits his credentials, and A Touchstone Of Taste captures his self-professed "Anglophile" passion with convincing force.  Not simply a historical or musicological study of Messiah, the book is an examination of the power of Messiah, both in creating controversy, and in its ability to inspire passion in a vast audience.  He quotes extensively from private letters, newspaper advertisements, journals, and other germane sources to lead the reader through the years, beginning with Handel's critical splash on the London scene with his Italianate opera Rinaldo, and following Messiah's various major performances through the beginning of the 19th and 20th Centuries.  Myers is particularly fond of quoting the reactions of leading lights of the times of which he's writing - so we get reactions from Samuel Butler, George Bernard Shaw, George Eliot, Sir Walter Scott, Julie Ward Howe,  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sir Arthur Sullivan, and even examines Adolph Hitler's "Aryanization" of Handel's Israel In Egypt and Judas Maccabeus!  It's a fascinating survey of popular thought through the ages, and I found both the approach, and Myers' writing, to be masterful.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
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