BOOKS

TITLE: THE STORY OF HANDEL'S MESSIAH
AUTHOR: WATKINS SHAW
PUBLISHER: NOVELLO & COMPANY LTD
ISBN (HARDCOVER): N/A
ISBN (PAPERBACK): N/A
UPC/EAN: N/A
LCCN: MT115.H133 S55
YEAR: 1963
SERIES: N/A
PAGES: 80 P.
PUB. LOCATION: LONDON, ENGLAND
DDC: N/A
EXCERPT: CLICK HERE FOR SAMPLE PAGE (.PDF)


DESCRIPTION:  The Story of Handel's Messiah 1741-1784: A Short Popular History is a non-scholarly, general interest book aimed at readers who desire an introduction to Handel's most famous oratorio.  Based on the intensive investigation undertaken for Shaw's larger and fully-documented work, A Textual and Historical  Companion to Handel's Messiah, this book nevertheless contains new material considered not appropriate to that other book.  Contains eight illustrations and fourteen music examples.

SITE RATING:  7/10
SITE REVIEW:  Watkins Shaw's 1963 publication, a digression of sorts from his other book, A Textual and Historical Companion to Handel's Messiah, is a short, somewhat dry examination of the historical placement of Messiah, as well as a look at some of the musical forms Handel uses.  Within its nine chapters, Shaw discusses the composition of Messiah, how it appeared in its original form, the Dublin and London premieres, it subsequent London performances through 1753, the first Foundling Hospital charity performance, and subsequent renewal of Messiah's popularity, and its migration outside London through the years 1784, finishing it's history with the Westminister Abbey Commemoration of that year.  Despite the relatively short time span which the book encompasses, the forty-three year timespan is adequate to show how Messiah flourished and grew in popularity, becoming a cornerstone of Baroque literature, and moreover, a beloved, revered centerpiece of English choral music.  More conversational in tone than Shaw's Textual and Historical Companion, I still found this book to be a bit of a chore to read, with Shaw's lengthy diversions into specific musical quotations from the score more attuned to the student musician than to the casual reader, while Shaw's enthusiasm for Messiah is not readily apparent in his rather staid, academic writing style.  Nevertheless, this is a good, solid introduction to Messiah, with much useful information.


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
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