Michael Steinberg follows his warmly received listener's guides on the symphony and the concerto with Choral Masterworks: A Listener's Guide, a book of descriptive-analytical essays on the great masterpieces in the supremely inspiring repertoire for chorus and orchestra. This collection includes illuminating commentary on such works as Handel's Messiah, Bach's Passion settings and B-minor Mass, the Mozart Requiem, and the great choral works of Haydn and Beethoven. Steinberg also discusses the monuments of the Romantic era such as the stupendous Requiem settings of Berlioz and Verdi as well as the supremely tender one by Faure. Venturing into the twentieth century and the dawning of the twenty-first, he provides insights into the great achievements of Elgar, Rachmaninoff, Vaughan Williams, and Stravinsky, and, nearer our own time, such masters as John Adams. Steinberg's writes without jargon, in language that grabs the technically untrained music-lover, but which is still of riveting interest to conductors, singers, and others who make music their life.
His guidebook brings impeccable scholarship, insight into the spiritual content of the works, a deep love of music, and surprising corners of humor and whimsy.