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One of the most stirring pieces of music ever written is George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.”  Handel himself was deeply affected as he composed the work at his usual feverish pace, completing it in about three weeks.  The servants who brought Handel his food during that time remarked that, “He was praying, or he was weeping, or he was staring into eternity.” Upon finishing the “Hallelujah Chorus,” Handel is reported to have said, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God Himself.”

A new book, available as a free download this month only at ChristianAudio, delves into the fascinating history of Handel’s famous oratorio:

This book by music expert Calvin Stapert will greatly increase understanding and appreciation of Handel’s majestic Messiah, whether readers are old friends of this remarkable work or have only just discovered its magnificence.

Stapert provides fascinating historical background, tracing not only Messiah’s unlikely inception but also its amazing reception throughout history. The bulk of the book offers scene-by-scene musical and theological commentary on the whole work, focusing on the way Handel’s music beautifully interprets and illuminates the biblical text.

Al Mohler interviewed the book’s author earlier this week, and Tim Challies recently reviewed the book at Discerning Reader.

Finally, just for fun, here’s a video of the Hallelujah Chorus that’s been wildly popular since it was first posted on YouTube a little over a month ago.  If you haven’t already seen it, you’re one of just a few people on the planet who haven’t.