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Head of Zeus
Messiah by Jonathan Keates
 The Landmark Library, 4

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.

Head of Zeus * Music
20 Oct 2016 * 224pp * £16.99 * 9781784974008
'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

Jonathan Keates

Jonathan Keates
Jonathan Keates is a historian and writer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Trustee of the London Library, and 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.
ALSO BY Jonathan Keates
The Rite of Spring