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Twenty-four Days to a masterpiece that changed music

Local author releases novel based on true story

Midland–People today are not the only ones dealing with ways to overcome
extraordinary difficulties.
For 18 th century composer George Frederick Handel it was not Covid-19, but he
fought his own isolation battles as depression, poverty, illness and cultural
ostracism left him ready to quit everything. Instead his struggles led to one of
music’s masterpieces, Handel’s Messiah!
Author Barrie Doyle turned the incredible true story of Handel’s struggles into an
entertaining and powerful novel, “Musick for the King” which was released in
mid-April.
“While I have always loved the music, the back story was what intrigued me,”
Doyle says. “How could someone so crushed by circumstances turn everything
around? Although this was written before the Covid crisis upended all of us, it
seemed to me it was an example of not yielding to horrible situations but instead,
rising above them.”
In all, it took Handel only 24 days to write the music that today inspires people and
become a staple for orchestras and choral societies around the world.
Katherine Whyte, star soloist with New York’s Metropolitan Opera, says “What a
beautiful glimpse into the struggles and realities of the writing of Messiah. Barrie
Doyle captures its timelessness and helps the reader live the drama that birthed one
of the most celebrated pieces of our time.” She adds ‘As one who performs
Messiah every year I was intrigued by the dramatic story. It brings to life the music
I know so well”
The story has other aspects that mirror modern life. Handel’s celebrity soloist—the
pop star of her day—was embroiled and almost destroyed by a sex scandal that
rocked Britain. Hiring her to perform a sacred oratorio scandalized many and
created controversy that almost killed the debut in Dublin in 1742 and its London
premier a year later. Throw in the real-life opposition of the author of “Gulliver’s
Travels” Jonathan Swift who, as Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, tried to
scuttle the first performance, and you have cultural clashes galore.

“The parallels between society then and now; how we handle difficult emotional
and professional situations are a key element in this novel. Plus, you have the
added comparisons of how they and we handle pop star scandals,” Doyle added.
Barrie Doyle is the author of three previous suspense/thriller novels that have
enjoyed readership around the world and comparisons to Tom Clancy, Ken Follett
and Dan Brown.
“Musick for the King” is his first purely historical novel. It is currently available
online at Amazon, Chapters/Indigo and other retailers. It will be available on
Kindle, Kobe and other platforms in May. Brick and mortar booksellers will have
the book available once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. At that point a major
book launch book signings in stores as well as readings will be scheduled.