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Apr 15, · THE BEST OF HANDEL Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 1, in G Major I. A Tempo Giusto No. 1, in G Major II. Allegro No. 1, in G Major III. Adagio No. 1, in G Major IV. Handel was born in in Halle-upon-Saale, Duchy of Magdeburg, to Georg Händel and Dorothea Taust. His father, aged sixty-three when George Frideric was born, was an eminent barber-surgeon who served the court of Saxe-Weissenfels and the Margraviate of Brandenburg.. Georg Händel (–97) was the son of a coppersmith, Valentin Born: 23 February (O.S.), Halle-upon-Saale, Magdeburg.
A tremendous success, Rinaldo created a craze in London for Italian opera seria, a form focused overwhelmingly on solo arias for the star virtuoso singers.
In , Handel was appointed music director of an organisation called the Royal Academy of Music unconnected with the present day London conservatoire , a company under royal charter to produce Italian operas in London. Handel was not only to compose operas for the company but hire the star singers, supervise the orchestra and musicians, and adapt operas from Italy for London performance.
For the fourth season in , for which his first opera was Ottone , Handel assembled a cast of star singers including the internationally famous castrato, Senesino , beginning a long and sometimes stormy association with Handel that included creating seventeen leading roles in his operas for London, at a vast salary.
On being asked to replace the aria Falsa imagine with a new one, Handel, according to his first biographer John Mainwaring , flew into a rage:. Madame, said he , je sçais bien que Vous êtes une véritable Diablesse: Cuzzoni yielded and sang the aria Handel had written with enormous success, including it throughout her career in recitals and concerts.
Handel had seen Antonio Lotti's opera Teofane , to the same libretto as Ottone , in Dresden in , and with three of the same singers in the same roles, though with newly written music by Handel, they had played in the Lotti work - Senesino, Giuseppe Maria Boschi and Margherita Durastanti repeated their roles from the Lotti opera in Ottone.
The "Argument" to the opera provides the context of the events that precede the opera. Basilio, Teofane's brother, had been driven into exile by a usurper. However, Basilio had become a pirate during his exile, and took on the name of Emireno. Gismonda's dream is to see her son Adelberto on the throne of Italy. Pur chi regni il figlio amato.
When Adelberto comes to her, she informs him of her scheme to bring this to pass. Her deceased husband had ruled Italy illegally as the country was really a possession of the German King Ottone, who is now on the way to reclaim the territory and to marry Teofane, daughter of the Byzantine emperor, who is already in Rome and has been sent a portrait of her bridegroom-to-be, which has caused her to look forward to her marriage with delight.
However Ottone has been delayed in his journey to Rome by an attack on his convoy of ships by pirates, necessitating a battle at sea. Gismonda instructs her son to present himself to Teofane as her bridegroom, and then marry her, pretending to be Ottone. Adelberto thinks this is a very clever plan and Gismonda joyfully anticipates her son's success. Teofane comes to meet, as she believes, her husband-to-be Ottone, and when Adelberto greets her, pretending to be Ottone, she cannot understand why he looks nothing like the handsome and noble young man she had imagined from the miniature portrait she had been sent and carries with her in a locket.
Left alone, she accuses the portrait of cruelly misleading her Aria: The true Ottone has arrived to claim his rightful kingdom and his bride, and has defeated the pirate Emireno, who is brought before him in chains.
Emireno hints that he is really someone very mighty but refuses to reveal his true identity and is led away. Del minacciar del vento. Ottone is now greeted by his enraged cousin Princess Matilda, who was officially engaged to Adelberto and is furious that he now proposes to marry Teofane instead.
She informs Ottone that Gismonda and Adelberto are scheming against him. Ottone hopes that Teofane can still be his despite this Aria: Ritorna, o dolce amore. Matilda, alone, yearns for revenge against Adelberto for his jilting of her Aria: Since her son Adelberto is now posing as Ottone, Gismonda poses as Ottone's mother Adelaide in a meeting with Teofane. Pensa ad amare , and leaves. Adelberto comes to lead Teofane to their wedding, but his mother reappears with the news that Ottone is invading with an army, thrusts a sword into her son's hand and sends him off to battle.
Left alone, Teofane now realises that Adelberto is only pretending to be Ottone, and laments the position in which she finds herself Aria: A sinfonia is played as an onstage battle shows the defeat of Adelberto's army and his capture by Ottone's forces. Adelberto is led away, defiant but in chains Aria: Alone, Ottone is still hopeful of winning Teofane and the kingdom and ruling in peace, extending justice to all Aria: On his way to prison, Adelberto is encountered by Matilda, who tells him he should never have accepted being engaged to her if he really loved Teofane instead.
They are joined by Gismonda, who reproaches her son for being defeated in battle by Ottone. Adelberto hopes that he will learn fidelity from Matilda's example, and is led away Aria: Lascia, che nel suo viso. Matilda and Gismonda are both distraught at Adelberto's defeat and imprisonment. Matilda thinks they should beg Ottone for mercy, but Gismonda would prefer that she and her son both be put to death rather than thus abase themselves. Matilda says she will not allow that to happen, Adelberto must be freed Aria: Brava Fleming--and bravo Harry Bicket!
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Quando Spieghi I Tuoi Tormenti. Dunque, I Lacci D'un Volto Let The Bright Seraphim. Donellan, Strada [star soprano of Handel's operas] and Mr. Lord Shaftesbury begged of Mr. Percival to bring him, and being a profess'd friend of Mr. Handel who was here also was admitted; I never was so well entertained at an opera!
Handel was in the best humour in the world, and played lessons and accompanied Strada and all the ladies that sang from seven o'clock till eleven. I gave them tea and coffee, and about half an hour after nine had a salver brought in of chocolate, mulled white wine and biscuits. Everybody was easy and seemed pleased. In the Earl of Essex received a letter with the following sentence: The board of chief investors expected Handel to retire when his contract ended, but Handel immediately looked for another theatre.
Rich was renowned for his spectacular productions. He suggested Handel use his small chorus and introduce the dancing of Marie Sallé , for whom Handel composed Terpsicore. In he introduced organ concertos between the acts. For the first time Handel allowed Gioacchino Conti , who had no time to learn his part, to substitute arias. In April , at age 52, Handel apparently suffered a stroke which disabled the use of four fingers on his right hand, preventing him from performing.
Nobody expected that Handel would ever be able to perform again. But whether the affliction was rheumatism, a stroke or a nervous breakdown, he recovered remarkably quickly. During six weeks he took long hot baths, and ended up playing the organ for a surprised audience. Deidamia , his last opera, a co-production with the Earl of Holderness ,  was performed three times in Handel gave up the opera business, while he enjoyed more success with his English oratorios.
Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno , an allegory , Handel's first oratorio  was composed in Italy in , followed by La resurrezione in which uses material from the Bible. The circumstances of Esther and its first performance, possibly in , are obscure. Next came Deborah , strongly coloured by the coronation anthems  and Athaliah , his first English Oratorio. It is evident how much he learned from Arcangelo Corelli about writing for instruments, and from Alessandro Scarlatti about writing for the solo voice; but there is no single composer who taught him how to write for chorus.
The most significant reason for this change was the dwindling financial returns from his operas. The performances were given without costumes and action; the singers appeared in their own clothes. In Handel produced Alexander's Feast. John Beard appeared for the first time as one of Handel's principal singers and became Handel's permanent tenor soloist for the rest of Handel's life.
In Saul , Handel was collaborating with Charles Jennens and experimenting with three trombones, a carillon and extra-large military kettledrums from the Tower of London , to be sure " In his next works Handel changed his course.
In these works he laid greater stress on the effects of orchestra and soloists; the chorus retired into the background. During the summer of , The 3rd Duke of Devonshire invited Handel to Dublin , capital of the Kingdom of Ireland , to give concerts for the benefit of local hospitals. In Handel wrote his oratorio Alexander Balus. He strikes the golden lyre , Handel wrote the accompaniment for mandolin , harp , violin , viola , and violoncello.
The use of English soloists reached its height at the first performance of Samson. The work is highly theatrical. The role of the chorus became increasingly important in his later oratorios.
Jephtha was first performed on 26 February ; even though it was his last oratorio, it was no less a masterpiece than his earlier works. In Handel composed Music for the Royal Fireworks ; 12, people attended the first performance. The performance was considered a great success and was followed by annual concerts that continued throughout his life.
In recognition of his patronage, Handel was made a governor of the Hospital the day after his initial concert. He bequeathed a copy of Messiah to the institution upon his death. In addition to the Foundling Hospital, Handel also gave to a charity that assisted impoverished musicians and their families.
In August , on a journey back from Germany to London, Handel was seriously injured in a carriage accident between The Hague and Haarlem in the Netherlands. The cause was a cataract which was operated on by the great charlatan Chevalier Taylor. This did not improve his eyesight, but possibly made it worse. He died in at home in Brook Street, at age The last performance he attended was of Messiah. Handel was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Handel never married, and kept his personal life private. His initial will bequeathed the bulk of his estate to his niece Johanna, however four codicils distributed much of his estate to other relations, servants, friends and charities. Handel owned an art collection that was auctioned posthumously in Handel's compositions include 42 operas, 29 oratorios, more than cantatas, trios and duets, numerous arias, chamber music, a large number of ecumenical pieces, odes and serenatas, and 16 organ concerti.
His most famous work, the oratorio Messiah with its "Hallelujah" chorus, is among the most popular works in choral music and has become the centrepiece of the Christmas season. The Lobkowicz Palace in Prague holds Mozart's copy of Messiah , complete with handwritten annotations.
Among the works with opus numbers published and popularised in his lifetime are the Organ Concertos Op. Also notable are his sixteen keyboard suites, especially The Harmonious Blacksmith.
Handel introduced previously uncommon musical instruments in his works: Cecilia's Day , three trombones Saul , clarinets or small high cornetts Tamerlano , theorbo , French horn Water Music , lyrichord, double bassoon , viola da gamba , carillon bell chimes , positive organ , and harp Giulio Cesare , Alexander's Feast.
The first published catalogue of Handel's works appeared as an appendix to Mainwaring's Memoirs. The volume Händel-Gesellschaft "Handel Society" edition was published between and — mainly due to the efforts of Friedrich Chrysander.
For modern performance, the realisation of the basso continuo reflects 19th century practice. Vocal scores drawn from the edition were published by Novello in London, but some scores, such as the vocal score to Samson , are incomplete.
It did not start as a critical edition, but after heavy criticism of the first volumes, which were performing editions without a critical apparatus for example, the opera Serse was published with the title character recast as a tenor, reflecting pre-war German practice , it repositioned itself as a critical edition. Influenced in part by cold-war realities, editorial work was inconsistent: In a committee was formed to establish better standards for the edition.
The unification of Germany in removed communication problems, and the volumes issued have since shown a significant improvement in standards.
The catalogue has achieved wide acceptance and is used as the modern numbering system, with each of Handel's works designated an "HWV" number, for example Messiah is catalogued as "HWV 56". Handel's works were collected and preserved by two men: Sir Samuel Hellier , a country squire whose musical acquisitions form the nucleus of the Shaw-Hellier Collection,  and the abolitionist Granville Sharp. Handel — The Conquering Hero.
After his death, Handel's Italian operas fell into obscurity, except for selections such as the aria from Serse , " Ombra mai fù ". The oratorios continued to be performed but not long after Handel's death they were thought to need some modernisation, and Mozart orchestrated German versions of Messiah and other works. Throughout the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, particularly in the Anglophone countries, his reputation rested primarily on his English oratorios, which were customarily performed by choruses of amateur singers on solemn occasions.
The centenary of his death, in , was celebrated by a performance of Messiah at The Crystal Palace , involving 2, singers and instrumentalists, who played for an audience of about 10, people. Recent decades have revived his secular cantatas and what one might call 'secular oratorios' or 'concert operas'. Of the former, Ode for St. For his secular oratorios, Handel turned to classical mythology for subjects, producing such works as Acis and Galatea , Hercules and Semele These works have a close kinship with the sacred oratorios, particularly in the vocal writing for the English-language texts.
They also share the lyrical and dramatic qualities of Handel's Italian operas. As such, they are sometimes fully staged as operas. With the rediscovery of his theatrical works, Handel, in addition to his renown as instrumentalist, orchestral writer, and melodist, is now perceived as being one of opera's great musical dramatists.
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