Friday, 21 of June of 2024

Getting a Handel on Messiah

David W. Barber

Getting a Handel on Messiah

128 pages, paperback
ISBN-10: 0920151175
ISBN-13: 978-0920151174

Illustrated by Dave Donald, with a preface by Trevor Pinnock

Chances are you’ve probably heard Handel’s Messiah at least once, if not many times. Maybe you’ve even performed it, as have countless musicians around the world. After all, it’s probably one of the best-loved, and certainly one of the best-known, works in the standard repertoire.

But if you thought you knew all there was to know about the great composer’s famous oratorio, think again. For example, it may surprise you to learn that Handel’s first impulse to compose the work came not from religious or even musical inspiration. It had a whole lot more to do with money.

The very first performance of Messiah took place not in London, but in Dublin – and not with a huge choir and orchestra, but with only a relative handful of musicians.

Although church groups and clergy members now praise Messiah as a fine example of religious music at its best, Handel had to disguise his oratorio for its first performance in London, in order to sneak it past the church authorities.

All these and many more entertaining (and entirely true!) facts await your discovery as bestselling author David W. Barber takes you on another delightful romp through the pages of music history – as it ought to be taught.

Dave Donald’s quirky and witty cartoons bring added insight to the musical proceedings.