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A Textual Companion to Handel's Messiah

By Watkins Shaw

Classical History, Style & Culture. Music Sales America. Choral Resources, Classical Reference. 240 pages. Novello & Co Ltd. #NOV110122. Published by Novello & Co Ltd. (HL.14033088).

Item Number: HL.14033088

ISBN 0853600333. 5.5x8.5 inches.

This book provides an ample background of textual and historical information about Handel's Messiah. Though it arises from the author's work involved in his own edition in vocal and full score, 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 onto 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 if individual movements, the author concludes with a statement of editorial aims and practices.

  • Ratings + Reviews

  • 4

    Russell McKinney
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Difficulty Level:
  • 2009-03-17 00:00:00.0 Thorough and Informative, but slow going.

    This is clearly an important little book in terms of tracing the sources and variants for Messiah and how Mr. Shaw navigated his way though all of this sources material and put together his edition of Messiah. It is, however, fair to say that readers should be prepared for a...

    somewhat slow and difficult read. It is very academic, but nonetheless useful. The Oxford book on Handel's Messiah by Donald Burrows is more interesting and engaging. But to be fair one must recognize the importance of Shaw's work (as certainly Burrows does) and really it is required reading for any one preparing a performance of Messiah who wishes to consider performance practice of Handel's time.

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