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Monday, December 29, 2014

#REVIEW:Every Valley: Advent with the Scriptures of Handel's Messiah by Albert L Blackwell


Title: Every Valley: Advent with the Scriptures of Handel's Messiah
Series: none
Author:  Albert L Blackwell
Published Date: September 26, 2014
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
Format: ebook
Pages: 160
ISBN: 0664259987
Genre: Christian study
Add to: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon

Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis: Handel's "Messiah" is one of the most beloved musical works of the western world, playing an especially sentimental role in many people's Christmas traditions. The libretto of the work, taken directly from the King James text of fourteen books of the Bible, has turned many otherwise forgettable phrases into memorable, singable, cherished lines of Scripture.

This gift-worthy book will delight and inspire classical music fans and those for whom "Messiah" is a beloved Christmas tradition with essays exploring the theological, historical, and pastoral implications of the Scriptures that make up Handel's "Messiah."

Forty reflections journey in order through the oratorio, taking the reader deeper into less-often studied texts like Malachi 3:3 and bringing new light to oft-recited passages like Luke 2:9-14. Each reflection offers the libretto from "Messiah," the same passage in NRSV, and a brief commentary on the text, written by a respected scholar or pastor. Readers can peruse the book at leisure or examine one reflection per day throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons. 

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.
Most people are familiar with Handel’s “Messiah”, if not all of it, then certainly the Hallelujah chorus, which is often played during the Christmas season. It is one of the first things I remember singing in a chorus as a 6th grader.
This book brings us through snippets of the entire Messiah work, focusing on the Scripture that it quotes, leading into a commentary by the author on the Scripture. Some of these Scripture passages are hardly heard, like the verse in Malachi, some are very well-known, like the scene with the shepherds or the manger scene.

I thought this would be less Scripture, and more of the musical work, but this whole book worked well. The author successfully used this as a jump point for a well-written commentary on each of the scenes in Handel’s Messiah.

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