This book provides an ample background of textual and historical information about Handel's Messiah. Though it arises from the author's work involved in his own edition in vocal and full score, its relevance is by no means confined to that edition.
A survey of Handel's singers and of manuscript sources of the work provides the basis for an investigation onto the alterations and development to which the work was subject after its original conception.
The alternative versions of numerous movements are also reviewed and thus a certain amount of light is shed on the form assumed by the earliest printed copies.
After an important discussion of textual authority and a commentary on the readings if individual movements, the author concludes with a statement of editorial aims and practices.