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Head of Zeus
06 Oct 2016 * EBOOK * £6.99 * 9781784973995

The story of the composition, first performances and cultural afterlife of one of the best-loved and most widely performed works in the entire history of music.

Non Fiction / AVGC3 (Music)
Extent: 224 pages  Illus: 40 col illus
Exclusive: GB AU NZ IN ZA SG   Not for sale: CA US
Magna Carta
City of Light
Dante's Divine Comedy
The Royal Society
The Rite of Spring
The French Revolution
The Arab Conquests
Hadrian's Wall
The British Museum
The Sarpedon Krater
Also in The Landmark Library series
MessiahThe Landmark Library, 4by Jonathan Keates

In 1741, in just 24 days, the German-born, British-naturalized composer George Frideric Handel wrote an oratorio rich in tuneful arias and choruses of robust grandeur. Coolly received in London at first, after Handel's death Messiah enjoyed an extraordinary surge in popularity: it was performed at festivals across England; other composers rushed to rearrange it; it would be commercially recorded on more than 100 occasions.

Jonathan Keates tells the story of the composition and musical afterlife of Handel's masterpiece: he considers the first performances and its place in Handel's output; he looks at the oratorio itself and its relationship with spirituality in the age of the Enlightenment; and he examines why Messiah became such an essential element in the national culture of Britain.

Illustrated with beautiful images, including the original score of the work, Messiah is a richly informative and affectionate celebration of a high-point of Britain's Georgian golden age.

Jonathan Keates is a historian and writer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a former Trustee of the London Library, and was Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund. He is the author of a number of acclaimed biographies, including works on Handel, Purcell and Stendhal, as well as several travel books about Italy. For his services to promoting Italian culture in the UK, he was recently honoured with the prestigious Ordine della Stella d'Italia.

'Admirably concise and evocative' The Times

'This delightful book [...] contains a lot to muse over ... the author clearly knows what he is talking about, and illuminates what we thought we knew' Book of the Week, Guardian

'However you like to hear your Messiah, you should enjoy it all the more for reading Keates's lucid guide ... his analysis is taut and his narrative skilfully concise' The Times

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