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The Life of Handel

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Table of Contents

Contents List of Illustrations ix Preface to This Edition xi List of Works Consulted by the Author xiii CHAPTER I: 1685-1709 1 Birth of Handel - His Musical Tendencies - His Early Studies - Journey to Berlin, where he Appeared as a Prodigy - Return to Halle, and New Studies - Journey to Hamburg - A Duel - First Dramatic Works, Almira, Nero, Daphne, and Florindo - Journey into Italy - Explanations as to Dates connected with the Earlier Part of Handel's Life - Rodrigo produced at Florence - Agrippina at Venice - Sacred Music at Rome - La Resurreczione - Silla - Il Trionfo del Tempo. CHAPTER II: 1709-1720 23 Conclusion of the Journey to Italy - Aci e Galatea - French Songs - Journey to Hanover - Arrival in London - Commencement of the Italian Opera in England - Rinaldo - Cantatas and Chamber Duets said to be composed in Hanover - Ode for Queen Anne's Birthday - Pastor Fido - Teseo - Utrecht Te Deum and Grand Jubilate - Thomas Britton - First Public Concerts in England - Handel settles in London - Water Music - Amadigi - Tableaux Vivants - Heidegger - Journey into Germany-Handel's German Oratorio, The Passion - He becomes Chapel-master to the Duke of Chandos - Chandos Anthems - The Character of Handel's Sacred Music. CHAPTER III: 1720-1729 57 Handel directs the Italian Theatre for the Royal Academy of Music - Radamisto - Esther - Acis - The Mansion of Cannons - The Dure of Chandos buys a third Wife - Suites de Pieces pour le Clavecin - The Harmonious Blacksmith - The Environs of London in 1720 - Cabal in Favour of Bononcini - Attilio Ariosti - Handel's Operas produced for the Academy - His Italian Airs transmuted into Sacred Music - The Cuzzonists and the Faustinists - Coronation Anthems - The Beggar's Opera-Ruin and Dissolution of the Royal Academy of Music - Poverty of the Mise-en-Scene. CHAPTER IV: 1729-1732 93 Handel takes the Italian Theatre with Heidegger - Successive Failure of all his Productions - Esther, the First English Oratorio - Origin of Oratorios - Of their Performance without Action - Acis and Galatea - Opera 1a and 2a of Handel's Instrumental Works. CHAPTER V: 1733 129 Deborah - Violent Letter against Handel by the Librettist Rolli - Handel's Orchestration and Choruses - His Employment of the Drum - All his Contemporaries Reproach him with Exaggeration of the Harmonic Forces - Quarrel with Senesino - Cabal of the Nobility against Handel - A Rival Theatre Organized - Predilection of the Eighteenth Century for High Voices - Bononcini and the Madrigal of Lotti. CHAPTER VI: 1734-1737 157 Athalia - The two Rival Theatres - Ariadne - Parnasso in Festa - Wedding Anthem - Indomitable Energy of Handel - Fugues for the Organ - Handel becomes an Impressario - Arbuthnot's Satire in his Favour - Terpsichore - Masques - Alcina - Alexander's Feast - Indifference of the Composers of the Eighteenth Century with regard to the publication of their works - Atalanta - Arminius - Justin - Berenice - Ruin of the Two Theatres - Failure of Handel - Artistic Ignorance of the Public of that Epoch - The High Prices given to Great Singers. CHAPTER VII: 1737-1741 193 Illness - Failure of New Operas - Funeral Anthem - Statue Erected to Handel during his Life - All the Great Intelligences of the Age pronounce in his Favour - Organ Concertos - Saul - Israel in Egypt - Imitative Music - English Odes and Serenatas - Unfortunate Return to Italian Music - The Italian Opera in England. CHAPTER VIII: 1741-1742 239 Journey to Ireland - Pope and Handel - A Letter by Handel - Performances at Dublin - The Messiah - Noble Use which the Author made of that Work. CHAPTER IX: 1742-1752 275 Samson - Dettingen Te Deum - Pretended Plagiarisms - Joseph - Semele - correspondence about Belshazzar - hercules - Acts of Hostility on the part of the Nobles against Handel - His Second Failure - Occasional Oratorio - Rule Britannia - God Save the King - Judas Macchabaus - See the Conquering Hero - Joshua - Solomon - Susannah - Fireworks Music - Theodora - Choice of Hercules. CHAPTER X: 1752-1759 317 Jephtha - Handel smitten with Blindness - He continues to give Annual Performances of Oratorios - One of Handel's Conversations - His Genius no longer Disputed - Triumph of Time and Truth - Death of Handel - His Music Performed Everywhere, to the Exclusion of all others - His Influence - Pasticcio attributed to him. CHAPTER XI Handel's Will - Inventory of his Household Goods - Proof of his Honesty - His Funeral - His Monument at Westminster Abbey - Commemoration of 1784 - Handel's Manuscripts - His Harpsichord - Portraits of him. CHAPTER XII: The Character and Genius of Handel 349 Appendix 387 Index 411

About the Author

Victor Schoelcher (1804-1893) was born into a wealthy Parisian family of porcelain merchants. He was a politician, journalist, art critic and musicologist, but is mostly remembered for his role in the abolition of slavery in the French colonies. He also campaigned for women's rights and for the abolition of the death penalty.


This is not for the casual reader. But any serious student or lover of eighteenth-century music will find the detail, whether in discussing Handel's family background, his major works or his posthumous reputation, very rewarding. -- John Van der Kiste,

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