BOOKS

TITLE: HANDEL'S MESSIAH: COMFORT FOR GOD'S PEOPLE
AUTHOR: CALVIN R. STAPERT
PUBLISHER: WM. B.EERDMANS PUBLISHING CO.
ISBN (HARDCOVER): N/A
ISBN (PAPERBACK): 978-0-8028-6587-8
UPC/EAN: 9780802865878
LCCN: N/A
YEAR: 2010
SERIES: N/A
PAGES: 173 P.
PUB. LOCATION: GRAND RAPIDS
DDC: 782.23
EXCERPT: CLICK HERE FOR SAMPLE PAGES


DESCRIPTION:  Handelís oratorio Messiah is a phenomenon with no parallel in music history. No other work of music has been so popular for so long. Yet familiarity can sometimes breed contempt ó and also misunderstanding.

This book by music expert Calvin Stapert will greatly increase understanding and appreciation of Handelís majestic Messiah, whether readers are old friends of this remarkable work or have only just discovered its magnificence.

Stapert provides fascinating historical background, tracing not only Messiahís unlikely inception but also its amazing reception throughout history. The bulk of the book offers scene-by-scene musical and theological commentary on the whole work, focusing on the way Handelís music beautifully interprets and illuminates the biblical text.

For anyone seeking to appreciate Handelís Messiah more, this informed yet accessible guide is the book to have and read. 

SITE RATING:  8/10
SITE REVIEW:  Although Calvin R. Stapert's Handel's Messiah: Comfort for God's People might sound like another book aimed at a primarily Christian audience, (and it is in fact published at part of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship liturgical series), the contents are far more universal in scope and interest than the title implies.  Part history, part biography, part musicological study, and a large part given over to textual analysis, the author deftly bridges the gap between secular and spiritual appreciation for Handel's Messiah; a bridge that has contributed to its popularity for over two centuries.  In his introduction to the book, the author acknowledges these disparate elements, and notes the many theories (some of them truly bizarre), which others have posited in an attempt to explain Messiah's huge popularity and unflagging mass appeal.  The book then gets to it's main purpose, which is to clearly and simply lay out Messiah's genesis, from the rise of the oratorio in England (and elsewhere); then, a couple of brief essays on the Purpose of Messiah, followed quickly by the meat of the book, an in-depth, movement-by-movement study of the text - it's origins, how Handel's musical settings enhance the meaning of the libretto, and the mood(s) which Handel's music creates.  The author's prose is very clean and easy to read - he strives to reach the layman audience, although his analysis is never trite, or "dumbed down" for his readers.  For those who are just beginning to appreciate Messiah, and wish to delve more deeply into the meaning and purpose and, ultimately, the power of Handel's work, this book is a welcome, thoughtful examination.

The Compleat Messiah All Content Copyright © 2015 Bret D. Wheadon
All Rights Reserved.