Sandra Hambleton Smith - Glassical Guitar Magazine - U.K.
Guitarists so seldom perform works by the great masters that when we do, the experience can be unexpectedly exhiliarating. This is even more so the case when playing well-known and widely treasured works. It is difficult to find a classical composition more recognized by more people than The Messiah of G. F. Handel. Performed annually by the greatest artists of our day in formal concert settings, and community-sung by entire towns in churches of every denomination each holiday season, The Messiah has long been an indespensible part of the musical fabric of our lives.
This edition presents, for the first time, the entire series of five soprano arias from The Messiah, with accompaniments arranged for guitar. The guitar accompaniments are realized with extraordinary fidelity to the original orchestral scores, and include no embellishments or changes. The detailed attention to voicing and fingering makes each song highly idiomatic and comfortable to play. The songs range in difficulty from early intermediate to advanced.
The beauty of the material and its natural affinity for the guitar is immediately evident when playing the songs. The range of pleasures here is broad: from the gentle and serene "I know that my Redeemer liveth" and "How beautiful are the feet of them" to the beguilingly melodic "He shall feed His flock" and the delightful and catchy "If God be for us, who can be against us?," to the brilliant and virtuosic "Rejoice greatly,Odaughter of Zion." Representing all three sections of The Messiah, there is something here for all players and all seasons.
The creation of this masterwork is a familiar tale--that Handel composed it in a mere 24 days (1741). It is a marvel of human genius, though, that the music he wrote during those late summer days so long ago still has such power to move us today. It is my hope and desire that guitarists will now participate directly in the uniquely moving experience of performing these beloved songs.
Stephen Aron - October 2005