Getting a Handel on MessiahBy David W. Barber / illus. Dave Donald Book Item: 99-0987849212
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David. W. Barber has delighted readers all around the world with the quirky definitions of Accidentals on Purpose, the irreverent history of Bach, Beethoven and the Boys, a hilariously offbeat history of dance and ballet in Tutus, Tights and Tiptoes, and a host of other internationally best-selling books of musical humor and literature.
Chances are you've 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 think you know all there is 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 an 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 prissy church authorities.
* The Hallelujah chorus wasn't originally called that at all, but had a different (and much longer!) name.
* Although Handel was proud of Messiah, he didn't think it was his best work. His favorite oratorio was one that hardly anyone has ever heard of, much less heard.
All these and many more entertaining (and entirely true!) facts await your discovery as internationally best-selling author David W. Barber takes you on another delightful romp through the pages of music history---as it ought to be taught!