Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hallelujah by J.S. Featherstone

From goodreads: Hallelujah is the remarkable story of one of the greatest events in musical history, the creation of George Frederic Handel's masterpiece, Messiah. Composed in just twenty-four days, Handel's "Grand Oratorio which rendered him immortal" was birthed in the darkest and most desperate hours of his life. His health was failing. Critics ridiculed him. Creditors hounded him. Enemies persecuted him. Pride had nearly destroyed him. Yet, out of Handel's night emerged the dawn of Messiah. Anyone who has thrilled at hearing the Hallelujah Chorus will feel "profound attachment" to Handel's story of hope and redemption as timeless and poignant as the music itself.

The Messiah is my favorite piece of music! I think it is brilliantly written, and it soothes my soul with its lyrics and intricate rhythms. So, naturally, I was curious to read how it came to be. This book goes back in time and gives the history of its creation and composer. The historical fiction is expertly written, and I really felt like I was seeing the world as it was in the late 1700's. I was pulled into the story from the first few pages.

I enjoyed learning of Handel's life before and after he composed this great work of art. I was fascinated by the court's politics, and the trends of the time. Not only was the story of Handel's life fascinating, but the stories of the minor characters were fascinating, as well. The theme of redemption was prevalent throughout the book and I found the book to be very thought-provoking. 

One of my favorite quotes from the book is, "No matter what I endure, there is One who has endured far more. I am only a drop in the ocean of mankind, yet I have a share in the immense redemptive reach of Christ's sacrifice. How unjust and yet absolutely necessary that He who was without iniquity would suffer the the sins of us all. Only now do I understand that Christ is not only the Messiah, the Savior of Mankind, He is my personal Savior." (Handel's reflections as he is writing).

Don't be intimidated by its size-it's a relatively quick read as you'll be sucked into a world of politics, royalty, music, and redemption. This would be a perfect time to read this--right before the holidays! It made me appreciate The Messiah even more. 

Rating: 5
Published: 3.2002

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