Everything HANDEL - on Classical TV


A rich source of all things George Frideric Handel: his life, work and premier Handel productions - all online at Classical TV... 








Handel dabbled in opera management for 10 years, opening The Second Academy in 1729 (it collapsed five years later) and signing on for a disastrous stint with the Covent Garden. These busts took major tolls on Handel's health and pocketbook; he gave up the business for good in 1740.


While 12,000 listeners enjoyed Handel's 1749 Music for the Royal Fireworks, the following day three people in attendance, including one of the trumpeters, mysteriously died. Not what you'd call good publicity...


Unlike your usual "starving artist," Handel was quite famous and worth a sizable amount of money when he died; he was also "well-fed," to say the least.


Handel wrote his orchestral movement Water Music, which premiered at King George's party on the Thames in 1717, to regain the King's favor; Handel's move from Hanover to London under Queen Anne's reign before George assumed Anne's position did not sit well, it seems.


Immortalized in an infamous illustration, Handel once invited friend and artist Joseph Goupy to his Brook Street home for dinner, lamenting "only plain food is available"; after the shared meal, Goupy spied Handel through his window stuffing down a gourmet banquet. Goupy's subsequent characterization, pig snout and all, is not the most flattering portrait of Handel that survives today.








A superb cast features countertenors David Daniels and David Walker and soprano Noëmi Nadelmann. Harry Bicket leads from the harpsichord from the pit. This live recording comes from Munich's Prinzregententheater.



David Daniels introduces and sings "Cara Sposa" from Handel's Rinaldo.








Even in Handel’s purely instrumental hits such as the Water Music and the Royal Fireworks Music, you can hear the hand of a master composer for the human voice. But you don’t have to like opera or oratorio to love Handel. Michael Clive shows why his richly melodious works remain so appealing today.


If there were a top-ten list of most familiar classical excerpts, the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s oratorio The Messiah might well date back the furthest. George Frideric Handel was one of two musical giants who bestrode the baroque era, the time when the familiars of musical style — melody, rhythm and harmony — begin actually to sound familiar to modern listeners. The other giant: Johan Sebastian Bach, of course. Bach is the craftsman of unfathomable depths; Handel is the endlessly inspired, fabulously artful tunesmith whose melodies are still everywhere. And who, along the way, became one of the world’s first composer/impresarios.


Handel and Bach were both born in Germany in 1685, achieved recognition during their lifetimes and remained productive into relatively old age. But they never met, and their many differences, more than their similarities, shed light on Handel’s peculiarly modern profile among the great composers.


Like Bach, Handel received rigorous musical training as an organist, and as a young man made the arduous journey to Lübeck to hear then-preeminent organist Dietrich Buxtehude and apply for his job — preceding Bach there by a year. Neither one accepted the position. But in contrast with Bach, who never left Germany, and who lived a life of quiet, productive discipline dedicated mainly to the creation of church music, Handel visited Italy at age 21. It was a bold move for a musician schooled in German esthetic principles, which held Italian compositional style to be sensual to the point of decadence. But Handel had already written several operas, and in opera’s national homeland he learned not only Italian compositional style but also the business of operatic production.


By the time Handel was named Kapellmeister to the Elector of Hannover in 1710, he possessed the skills to turn any musical opportunity to his advantage. So he was more than ready when the Elector, his erstwhile German patron, succeeded to the English throne — becoming King George I of England in 1714. Settling in London, Handel became an early prototype of modern musical celebrity: a successful composer and impresario who enjoyed social prominence and royal patronage, provoking gossip and running his career as a business. Handel’s combination of melodic inspiration and entrepreneurial shrewdness became a model that continues to inspire composers such as Andrew Lloyd Weber (with debatable results).


None of which diminishes the greatness of his music. Handel’s operas and royal commissions achieved a degree of popularity that remains unmatched by any other English composers except, perhaps, the Beatles. His works, whether dramatic or instrumental, sacred or secular, are lit by endless melodic inspiration and a singing luminosity rooted in human emotions. Even after Handel’s operas began to slip from vogue and he turned his attention to oratorios, his work retained its operatic flair. Its abundance of color and feeling is unique to the German-born adoptive Englishman whose music never lost its Italian accent.








It's the 250th anniversary of Handel's death - now for the remixes?


Philadelphia columnist David Patrick Stearns decrees we live in a Golden Age of Handel performances - citing new stage productions and concerts and plenty of "enlightened, innovative Handelian activity."


It's no secret Handel enjoyed a good meal, but new research, and at least one PhD at The University of Texas in Houston, suggests the portly composer suffered from a pathological condition that compelled him to overeat.


Classical TV's Florestan brings to light "Handel The Entrepreneur": Though best known as a brillitant composer, Handel took on the business end of music as well - producing several of his own works. "A big time impresario, Handel had his own money on the line."







As part of All-Time Classics, we bring you "Six Degrees of Mozart" ... for Handel. The great Mozart's musical, and sometimes personal, influence is pretty much everywhere imaginable. See where Handel falls in the web of Mozart:


* Both Mozart's wife Constanze and his friend and sometimes patron Baron von Swieten urged Mozart to study Handel's music.


* In his sketch books, Mozart wrote down the chorus "See the conquering hero comes" from Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabaeus, followed by sketches of themes inspired by the work.


* Between 1788 and 1791, Mozart re-orchestrated staged performances of Handel's Acis and Galateas and The Messiah.


* The counterpoint in Mozart's Quintet In D, K. 593 was influenced by his study and re-orchestration of Handel's Alexander's Feast and Ode for St Cecilia's Day. After studying Handel's work, Mozart tried a Handelian device, employing a double chorus for the first time in his Mass in C Minor, K. 427.


* It was common practice in Mozart's day to "touch up" the orchestrations of earlier composers, so Mozart wrote additional string and clarinet parts for Handel scores.


* Both Handel and Mozart lived in London for a period (though not at the same time); Handel made it his home for the greater portion of his life.