Composed in 1741, Handel’s Messiah is widely regarded as one of the greatest choral works of all time. But is it performed today as originally intended? With the precision of a scholar and accomplished conductor, Dennis Shrock has created this remarkable Handbook, certain to deepen the understanding of any Messiah performer or aficionado of this legendary work.
Drawing from a wide variety of writers from Handel’s day, the result is a remarkable and detailed guide to Messiah as it would have been heard and performed during Handel’s time. Shrock first presents a history of Messiah and an overview of relevant Baroque performance practices, describing timbre, volume, and vibrato, as well as typical choral, solo, and orchestral forces, and much more. He then walks step-by-step through each movement, providing a guide to meter and tempo, articulation and phrasing, rhythmic alteration, and ornamentation—including dozens of musical examples.
The result is an inspired and dazzling portrait of Messiah, certain to deepen an appreciation of the genius that has made Messiah more popular today than ever before. Dennis Shrock is Director of Choral Activities at Texas Christian University and author of Choral Repertoire (Oxford University Press), Performance Practices in the Baroque Era (GIA), and Performance Practices in the Classical Era (GIA). In addition, he is editor of Music for Beginning Conductors (GIA) and the published choral works of the Historical Music Series (GIA).