BOOKS

TITLE: A TEXTUAL COMPANION TO HANDEL'S MESSIAH
AUTHOR: WATKINS SHAW
PUBLISHER: NOVELLO PUBLISHING LTD
ISBN (HARDCOVER): N/A
ISBN (PAPERBACK): 0853600333
UPC/EAN: 9780853600336
LCCN: N/A
YEAR: 1965 (REVISED 1982)
SERIES: N/A
PAGES: 233 P.
PUB. LOCATION: LONDON, ENGLAND
DDC: N/A
EXCERPT: CLICK HERE FOR SAMPLE PAGE (.PDF)


DESCRIPTION:  This book provides an ample background of textual and historical information to Handel's Messiah.  Though it arises from the author's work involved in his own edition in vocal and full score (Novello), its relevance is by no means confined to that edition.  A survey of Handel's singers and of manuscript sources of the work provides the basis for an investigation into the alterations and development to which the work was subject after its original conception.  The alternative versions of numerous movements are also reviewed and thus a certain amount of light is shed on the form assumed by the earliest printed copies.  After an important discussion of textual authority and a commentary on the readings of individual movements, the author concludes with a statement of editorial aims and practices.

SITE RATING:  10/10
SITE REVIEW:  Shaw compiled the data for this book when compiling his own Novello edition of the Messiah score, which is still in use today.  NOT for casual or light reading, Watkins Shaw's intensive A Textual Companion to Handel's Messiah is a dense, super-fine analysis examining the authoritative manuscript sources for Messiah, and the differences between these sources, (analyzed in excruciatingly minute detail).  Also, the singers involved in each production and their various abilities (where known) are examined for their impact on the various changes, secondary sources are also attended to, early printed copies, the Foundling Hospital version is examined, as well as textual authorities for each of the sources.  It's safe to say that Watkins Shaw is the father of the modern practice of recording a specific edition of Messiah, with numerous editions of the "Dublin" Messiah versus the "Foundling Hospital" version rattling consumer's brains.  All of these variants can be wholly or in part attributed to Shaw's meticulous work, with his notating of each change and variant, and while painstaking and exacting in its attention to detail, this book can hardly be recommended to anyone except serious musicologists, and conductors who wish to perform an historical recreation of a certain year's Messiah. Numerous example and fold-out-charts are included, but the reader is handicapped by not having the same sources at their fingertips as Shaw had.  This book should also be of great help to those who love to pick apart the various editions of Messiah and revel in minutia. Currently out-of-print, but can be found at most University libraries, or purchased relatively inexpensively through Amazon UK:  Textual and Historical Companion to Handel's Messiah


The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
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