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Handel   By: (1876-1957)

Book cover

First Page:


[Illustration: G. F. HANDEL from a woodcut by Eric King ]



Chapter I

Birth and parentage studies under Zachow at Halle Hamburg friendship and duel with Mattheson Almira departure for Italy.

Chapter II

Arrival in Italy Rodrigo Rome: Cardinal Ottoboni and the Scarlattis Naples: Venice: Agrippina appointment at Hanover London: Rinaldo .

Chapter III

Second visit to London Italian opera George I and the Water Music visit to Germany Canons and the Duke of Chandos establishment of the Royal Academy of Music.

Chapter IV

Buononcini Cuzzoni, Faustina, and Senesino death of George I The Beggar's Opera collapse of the Academy.

Chapter V

Handel naturalized partnership with Heidegger Esther the Opera of the Nobility visit to Oxford opera season at Covent Garden Charles Jennens collapse of both opera houses.

Chapter VI

Bankruptcy and paralysis visit to Aix la Chapelle the last operas Vauxhall Gardens Handel's "borrowings" visit to Ireland Messiah and other oratorios.

Chapter VII

Judas Maccabaeus Gluck Thomas Morell incipient blindness Telemann and his garden last oratorios death character and personality.

Bibliography and List of Works


1685.... Birth at Halle. 1702.... Entered University; organist of the Cathedral. 1703.... Went to Hamburg. 1705.... First opera: Almira (Hamburg). 1707.... Arrival in Italy. 1710.... Appointment at Hanover; first visit to London. 1711.... First London opera: Rinaldo . 1712.... Second visit to London. 1717.... Appointment to the Duke of Chandos. 1720.... Opening of Royal Academy of Music (Opera). 1726.... Naturalized as a British subject. 1728.... The Beggar's Opera . Collapse of the Academy. 1732.... First public oratorio: Esther . 1733.... Festival at Oxford. 1737.... Collapse of Opera; Handel bankrupt and paralysed. 1741.... Last opera: Deidamia . 1742.... Messiah at Dublin. 1751.... First signs of blindness. Last oratorio Jeptha . 1759.... Death in London.


Birth and parentage studies under Zachow at Halle Hamburg friendship and duel with Mattheson Almira departure for Italy.

The name of Handel suggests to most people the sound of music unsurpassed in massiveness and dignity, and the familiar portraits of the composer present us with a man whose external appearance was no less massive and dignified than his music. Countless anecdotes point him out to us as a well known figure in the life of London during the reigns of Queen Anne and the first two Georges. He lies buried in Westminster Abbey. One would expect every detail of his life to be known and recorded, his every private thought to be revealed with the pellucid clarity of his immortal strains. It is not so; to assemble the bare facts of Handel's life is a problem which has baffled the most laborious of his biographers, and his inward personality is more mysterious than that of any other great musician of the last two centuries.

The Memoirs of the Life of the late George Frederic Handel , written by the Rev. John Mainwaring in 1760, a year after his death, is the first example of a whole book devoted to the biography of a musician. The author had never known Handel himself; he obtained his material chiefly from Handel's secretary, John Christopher Smith the younger. Mainwaring is our only authority for the story of Handel's early life. Many of his statements have been proved to be untrue, but there is undoubtedly a foundation of truth beneath most of them, however misleading either Smith's memory or Mainwaring's imagination may have been. The rest of our knowledge has to be built up from scattered documents of various kinds, helped out by the reminiscences of Dr. Burney and Sir John Hawkins. For the inner life of Mozart and Beethoven we can turn to copious letters and other personal writings; Handel's extant letters do not amount to more than about twenty in all, and it is only rarely that they throw much light on the workings of his mind... Continue reading book >>

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