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Title: Handel
Author: Rolland, Romain, 1866-1944
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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(_From a Portrait by Mercier in the possession of the Earl of









[Illustration: colophon]



For a proper appreciation of the colossal work of Handel many years of
study and a book of some two hundred pages are very insufficient. To
treat at all adequately of Handel's life and work needs a whole lifetime
in itself, and even the indefatigable and enthusiastic Chrysander, who
devoted his life to this subject, has hardly encompassed the task.... I
have done what I could; my faults must be excused. This little book does
not pretend to be anything more than a very brief sketch of the life and
technique of Handel. I hope to study his character, his work, and his
times, more in detail in another volume.




HIS LIFE                                            1

HIS TECHNIQUE AND WORKS                           111

  (1) THE OPERAS                                  122

  (2) THE ORATORIOS                               134

  (3) THE CLAVIER COMPOSITIONS                    143


  (5) THE ORCHESTRAL WORKS                        158


  LIST OF HANDEL'S WORKS                          193

  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                    201

INDEX                                             204


PORTRAIT BY THORNHILL                       _frontispiece_

GEORGE I AND HANDEL'S WATER MUSIC _to face page_       69


HANDEL DIRECTING AN ORATORIO                          165



Here in England we are supposed to know our Handel by heart, but it is
doubtful whether we do. Who can say from memory the titles of even six
of his thirty-nine operas, from whence may be culled many of his
choicest flowers of melody? M. Rolland rightly emphasises the importance
of the operas of Handel in the long chain of musical evolution, and it
seems impossible for anyone to lay down his book without having a more
all-round impression than heretofore of this giant among composers.

M. Saint-Saëns once compared the position of a conductor in front of the
score of a Handel oratorio to that of a man who sought to settle with
his family in some old mansion which has been uninhabited for centuries.
The music was different altogether from that to which he was accustomed.
No nuances, no bowing, frequently no indication of rate, and often
merely a "sketched-in" bass.... Tradition only could guide him, and the
English, who alone could have preserved this, he considers, have lost

Can it be recovered to any extent, and, if so, how?

Behind each towering figure of genius are to be found numbers of
eloquent men who prepared the way for him; and amongst these precursors
there is frequently discovered one who exercised a dominating influence
over the young budding genius. Such an influence was exercised by Zachau
on Handel, and M. Rolland rightly gives due importance to the
consideration of this old master's teachings and compositions, a careful
study of which should go far to supplying the right key to Handel's
music. One of the great shortcomings in the general musical listener is
a lack of the historical view of music. It is a long cry from Bach and
Handel to Debussy and Scriabin, but we shall be all the better for
looking well at both ends of the long musical chain which connects the
unvoiced expression of the past with the vague yet certain hopes of the

No doubt we have hardly yet recovered from the false position into which
we have all helped to place Handel. He was never the great Church
composer which has been assumed for so long. Perhaps, rather, he leaned
to the pagan side of life in his art. As Mr. Streatfeild says, "You can
no more call the _Messiah_ a work of art than you can call the _Book of
Common Prayer_ popular as a masterpiece of literature.... Handel the
preacher is laid for ever in the tomb, but Handel the artist with his
all-embracing sympathy for human things and his delight in the world
around him lives for evermore." Handel has been greatly, almost
wilfully, misrepresented; but he has played too great a part in the
history of English music to be cast aside on this account. It is true
that there are many difficulties in the way of a clearer understanding
of his music. A two-hundred years' overgrowth of vain vocal traditions
is not going to be torn away in the space of a few years.

If the operas have been overlooked in favour of the oratorios, then his
instrumental music has been even more neglected on account of the
preponderance of his vocal movements. In a recent important contribution
to Handelian biography only a few pages are given to the instrumental
works. In this respect M. Rolland's clear and critical biography fills
in a distinct _hiatus_.

Moreover, Handel sojourned in Germany, Italy, finally (and longest) in
England--but never in France. M. Rolland, therefore, a Frenchman and the
author of that brilliant work _Histoire de l'Opéra en Europe avant Lulli
et Scarlatti_, may, more than any other writer, be expected to bring a
freshness of vision and an impartial judgment to bear on Handel's works.
_And he has not disappointed us._

A. E. H.



The Handel family was of Silesian origin.[1] The grandfather, Valentine
Handel, was a master coppersmith at Breslau. The father, George Handel,
was a barber-surgeon, originally attached to the service of the armies
of Saxony, then of Sweden, later of the French Emperor, and finally in
the private service of Duke Augustus of Saxony. He was very rich, and
purchased at Halle in 1665 a beautiful house, which is still in
existence. He was married twice; in 1643 he married a widow of a barber,
who was ten years older than himself (he had six children by her); and
in 1683, the daughter of a pastor who was thirty years younger than he
was: he had four children by her, of which the second was George

Both parents sprang from that good old _bourgeois_ stock of the
seventeenth century which was such excellent soil for genius and for
faith. Handel, the surgeon, was a man of gigantic stature, serious,
severe, energetic, religiously attached to duty, upright and affable in
his dealings with those around him.

His portrait exhibits a large clean-shaven face which has the impression
of one who never smiled. The head is carried high, the eyes morose;
prominent nose and a pleasant but obstinate mouth; long hair with white
curls falling on his shoulders; black cap, collar of lace, and coat of
black satin: the aspect of a parliamentary man of his time.--The mother
was no less sturdy a character. Of a clerical family on the maternal
side as well as on the paternal side, with a spirit imbued with the
Bible, she had a calm courage, which came out prominently when the
country was ravaged by pestilence. Her sister and her elder brother were
both carried off by the plague; her father was also affected. She
refused to leave them and remained quietly at home. She was then engaged
to be married.--This sturdy couple transmitted to their distinguished
son in place of good looks (which he certainly had not, and which never
disquieted him) their physical and moral health, their stature, their
keen intelligence and common sense, their application to work, and the
indestructible essence of their quiet, calm spirit.

       *       *       *       *       *

George Frederick Handel was born at Halle on Monday, February 23,
1685.[2] His father was then sixty-three years, and his mother

The town of Halle occupied a singular political situation. It belonged
originally to the Elector of Saxony; by the Treaties of Westphalia it
was ceded to the Elector of Brandenburg; but it paid tribute to the Duke
Augustus of Saxony during his lifetime. After the death of Augustus in
1680, Halle passed definitely to Brandenburg; and in 1681 the Grand
Elector came to receive homage there. Handel then was born a Prussian;
but his father was in the service of the Duke of Saxony, and he retained
relationship with the son of Augustus, Johann Adolf, who moved his court
after the Prussian annexation to the neighbouring town of Weissenfels.
Thus the childhood of Handel was influenced by two intellectual forces:
the Saxon and the Prussian. Of the two the more aristocratic, and also
the more powerful was the Saxon. Most of the artists had emigrated with
the Duke to Weissenfels. It was there that the genial Heinrich Schütz
was born and died:[4] it was there that Handel found his first impetus,
and where the calling of the child was first recognized. The precocious
musical tendencies of the little George Frederick were somewhat curbed
by the formal opposition of his father.[5] The sturdy surgeon had more
than objection--he possessed an aversion to the profession of artist.
This sentiment was shared by nearly all the sturdy men of Germany. The
calling of musician was degraded by the unedifying spectacle of many
artists in the years of relaxation which followed the Thirty Years'
war.[6] Besides which, the _bourgeois_ German of the seventeenth century
had a very different idea of music from that of our French middle
classes of the nineteenth century. It was with them a mere art of
amusement, and not a serious profession. Many of the masters of that
time, Schütz, Rosenmüller, Kuhnau, were lawyers, or theologians, before
they devoted themselves to music; or they even followed for a time the
two professions. Handel's father wished his son to follow his own
profession, that of law; but a journey to Weissenfels overcame all his
objections. The Duke heard the little seven-year-old Handel play the
organ, with the result that he sent for the father to see him and
recommended him not to thwart the child's obvious musical talents. The
father, who had always taken these counsels very badly when they came
from anyone else, doubtless appreciated them when they came from the
lips of a prince; and without renouncing his own right over his son
(for he still had the legal plan in his head) consented to let him learn
music; and on his return to Halle he placed him under the best master in
the town, the organist Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau.[7]

       *       *       *       *       *

Zachau was a broad-minded man and moreover a good musician, whose
greatness was only appreciated many years after his death.[8] His
influence on Handel was splendid. Handel himself did not conceal it.[9]
This influence affected the pupil in two ways: by his method of
teaching, and by his artistic personality. "The man was very well up in
his art," says Mattheson,[10] "and is possessed of as much talent as

       *       *       *       *       *

Handel's devotion to Zachau was so great that he seemed never able to
show him sufficient affection and kindness. The master's first efforts
were devoted to giving the pupil a strong foundation in harmony. Then he
turned his thoughts towards the inventive side of the art; he showed
him how to give his musical ideas the most perfect form, and he refined
his taste. He possessed a remarkable library of Italian and German
music, and he explained to Handel the various methods of writing and
composing adopted by different nationalities, whilst pointing out the
good qualities and the faults of each composer; and in order that his
education might be at the same time theoretical and practical, he
frequently gave him exercises to work in such and such a style.

       *       *       *       *       *

This education with a true European catholicity was not confined to one
particular musical style, but spread itself out over all schools, and
caused him to assimilate the best points of all, for who can fail to see
that the conception and practice of Handel, and indeed the very essence
of his genius, was the absorption of a hundred different styles! "One of
his manuscripts dated 1698, and preserved carefully all his life,
contains," so says Chrysander, "some airs, choruses, capriccios, and
fugues of Zachau, Alberti (Heinrich Albert), Froberger, Krieger, Kerl,
Ebner, Strungk, which he had copied out whilst studying with Zachau."
Handel could never forget these old masters, distinct traces of whom are
found from time to time in his best-known works.[11] He would doubtless
too, with Zachau, have seen the first volumes of the clavier works of
Kuhnau, which were published at that time.[12]

Moreover, it seems that Zachau knew the work of Agostino Steffani,[13]
who later on took a fatherly interest in Handel; and Zachau followed
sympathetically the dramatic musical movement in Hamburg. Thus the
little Handel had, thanks to his master, a living summary of the musical
resources of Germany, old and new; and under his direction he absorbed
all the secrets of the great contrapuntal architects of the past,
together with the clear expressive and melodic beauty of the
Italian-German schools of Hanover and Hamburg.

But the personal influence of the character and the art of Zachau
reacted no less strongly on Handel than did his methods of instruction.
One is struck by the relationship of his works[14] to those of Handel;
they are similar in character and style. The reminiscences of motives,
figures, and of subjects count for little;[15] there is the same essence
in the art of both master and pupil; there is the same feeling of light
and joy; there is nothing of the pious concentration and introspection
of Bach, who goes down into the deeps of thought, and who loves to probe
into all the innermost recesses of the heart, and--in silence and
solitude--converse with his God. The music of Zachau is the music of
great spaces, of dazzling frescoes, such as one sees on the domes of the
Italian cathedrals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; but
Zachau's work contains more religion than these. His music pulses with
action like the bounding and rebounding of great springs of steel. It
has triumphant subjects with expositions of great solemnity. There are
victorious marches, carrying everything before them, which go crashing
on without stopping, ever spurring on the sparkling and joyous patterns.
There are also pastoral themes, pure and voluptuous reveries,[16]
dances, and songs accompanied by flutes, with a Grecian perfume,[17] and
a smiling virtuosity, a joy intoxicated with itself, twisting lines, and
vocal arabesques, vocalizations, trills for the voice which gambol
light-heartedly with the little wave-like arpeggios of the violins.[18]
Let us unite these two traits: the heroic and the pastoral, the
warriors' marches and the jubilant dances. There you have the Handelian
tableaux: the people of Israel and the women dancing before the
victorious army. You find in Zachau a sketch for the monumental
constructions of Handel in his Hallelujahs; those mountains of sound
which resound their joy, the colossal _Amens_ which crown his oratorios
like the dome of St. Peter at Rome.[19]

Add to this also Zachau's marked liking for instrumental music,[20]
which makes him combine it so happily with the vocal solos; and very
often he imagines the voice as an instrument, which combines and gambols
with the other instruments, thus forming a decorative garland
harmoniously woven.

To sum up, it was an art less intimate than expansive, an art newly
born; not devoid of emotion though,[21] but above all, restful, strong,
and happy--an optimistic music like that of Handel.

Truly Handel in miniature, with much less breadth, less richness of
invention, and particularly a smaller power of development. There is
nothing of the attractiveness of Handel's colossal movements, like an
army which marches and sings; and more solid strength is necessary to
carry the weight right to the end without bending. Zachau flinches on
his way; he has not the vital force of Handel, but in compensation he
has more _naïveté_, more tender candour, more of the childlike
chasteness and evangelic grace.[22] Certainly there we have the master
really necessary to Handel, a master more than one great man had the
good fortune to find (it is Giovanni Santi for Raphael; it is Neefe for
Beethoven): good, simple, straightforward, a little dull, but giving a
steady and gentle light where the youth may dream in peace and abandon
himself with confidence to a guide almost fraternal, who does not seek
to dominate him, but rather strives to fan the little flame into a
greater fire; to turn the little rivulet of music into the mighty river
of genius.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whilst studying with Zachau the young Handel visited Berlin. After
having paid his homage to his former master, the Elector of Saxony, he
was wise enough also to present himself to the new one, the Elector of
Brandenburg. It seems that this journey took place about 1696 when the
boy was eleven years old, and his father, being ill, did not accompany

The Berlin Court lived a very short life of artistic brilliance between
the wars of the Grand Elector and those of the Prince-Regent. Music was
greatly in honour, thanks to the Electress, Sophia Charlotte, daughter
of the celebrated Sophia of Hanover. She attracted to her the best
Italian instrumentalists, singers, and composers.[23] She founded the
Berlin Opera,[24] and even conducted several concerts at Court.
Doubtless the movement was but superficial. It was only held together by
the impulse of the Electress, who had more spirit than earnestness. Art
was for her only a fond distraction; so that after her death the musical
_fêtes_ in Berlin became extinct. But it was something to have lighted,
only for a brief hour, this flame of beautiful Italian art, and it was
thus that the little Handel came into contact for the first time with
the music of the South.[25] The child, who displayed his powers on the
clavecin before a princely audience, had so much success that the
Elector of Brandenburg wished him to enter his service. He offered
Handel's father to send the child to Italy to finish his studies. The
old man refused. "He had a stubborn pride, and did not desire," so says
Mainwaring, "that his son should be tied too soon to a Prince." He
wished to see his child again, as he considered that he himself might
die at any moment.

Little Handel returned. Too late! He learnt _en route_ that his father
had died on February 11, 1697. The principal obstacle in the way of his
musical vocation had now disappeared, but he had so profound a respect
for his father's wishes that he forced himself to study law for many
more years. After having completed in due course his classes at the
college he was entered for the Faculty of Law at the University of Halle
on February 10, 1702, five years after his father's death.

University life in Halle at that time was of a revolting character. But,
in spite of this, an intense life of thought and religion was also to be
found there. The Faculty of Theology was the centre of Pietism.[26] The
students devoted themselves to religious exercises which led to
ecstasy.--Handel, independent as he always was, kept clear of the brutal
amusements, just as he did of the mystic contemplation. He was religious
without being sentimental. For the rest, an artist could only listen to
the Pietists with difficulty, for their religious devotion was too often
oppressive to art. Even J. S. Bach, Pietist at heart, by his public acts
declared himself opposed to the Pietists, who were on certain marked
occasions inimical to music.[27] For a still stronger reason Handel had
no leaning towards mysticism.

Religion was not his business; Law certainly was not. However, he had
for his master the most remarkable professor in Germany, Christian
Thomasius, the advocate in the arraignment of witchcraft,[28] the
reformer of the teaching of law, who himself made a thorough study of
German customs, and who did not cease to make battle with the gross and
stupid abuses of the universities, with their spirit of caste, pedantry,
ignorance, hypocrisy, and judicial and religious acerbity. If such a
training was not of the nature to retain Handel it was certainly not the
fault of the professor; there were no more vital lessons in the whole
of the Germany of that day; none which offered a more fruitful field of
activity to a young man. Let us be sure that a Beethoven would not have
been insensible to them. But Handel was a pure musician; he was music
itself; nothing else could occupy his thoughts.

In the year in which he had completed his terms in the Faculty of Law he
found a post of organist at Halle: and in a church more than strictly
Lutheran, being of the Reformed order, where the organist had expressly
to conform to the new cult. However, he was only seventeen years
old.[29] This simple fact showed what musical authority he already
exercised in the town where he had studied law.[30] Not only was he
organist, but he was also Professor at the College of the Reformists; he
took vocal music there for two hours every week; he selected the most
gifted of his pupils and formed from them a vocal and instrumental body
which was to be heard every Sunday in one church or another of the town.
He included in his musical repertoire, chorales, Psalms, motets,
cantatas--which were changed every Sunday. Truly an excellent school for
learning to write quickly and well. Handel there formed his creative
fecundity.[31] Of hundreds of cantatas which he then wrote, none were
preserved by him.[32] But it is certain that his memory retained more
than one idea to serve in later compositions, for he never lost
anything, and from that time for the rest of his life he retained in his
mind his earlier musical ideas. This should not be attributed to his
speed in working, but to the unity of his thought and his strenuous
search for perfection.

Handel renewed neither his yearly engagement at the Cathedral of Halle
nor at the University. In his period as organist he had gauged his own
musical force and he no longer wished to constrain it. A wider field of
activity was necessary. He quitted Halle in the spring of 1703, and
guided both by his instincts and by a preference of his master
Zachau[33] he betook himself to Hamburg, the city of German Opera.

Hamburg was the Venice of Germany. A free town far from the noise of
wars, a refuge of artists, and people of large fortunes, the centre of
the commerce of Northern Europe, a cosmopolitan city where they spoke
all languages and especially the French tongue, it was in continual
relationship with both England and Italy, and particularly with Venice,
which constituted for it a model for emulation. It was by way of Hamburg
that the English ideas were circulated in Germany. It was there where
the first German newspapers appeared.[34] In the time of Handel, Hamburg
shared with Leipzig the intellectual prestige of Germany. There was no
other place in Germany where music was held in such high esteem.[35] The
artists there hobnobbed with the rich merchants. Christoph, pupil of
Schütz, had founded there a celebrated Collegium Musicum, a Society of
Musicians, and started there in 1677-8 the first theatre of German
Opera. It was not a princely opera open only to those invited by the
prince, but a public opera, popular in spirit and in prices. It was the
example of Italy, notably that of Venice, which called forth this
foundation, but the spirits of the two theatres were very different.
Whilst that of Venice satisfied itself with fantastic melodramas,
curiously devised from the ancient mythology and history, the Hamburg
Opera retained, despite the grossness of taste and licentiousness of
manners, an old religious foundation. The Hamburg opera was inaugurated
in 1678 by the production of Joh. Theile's _Creation of the World_. The
composer was a pupil of Schütz. From 1678 to 1692 a large number of
religious dramas were given there; some of an allegorical character,
others inspired by the Bible. In certain of these subjects one can
already see the future oratorios of Handel.[36] Feeble as these pieces
were, they were yet on the definite road for the founding of a real
German theatre. It seems to have been the idea of one of these poets,
Pastor Elmenhorst, who wished to give to the religious opera the value
of a classic form of art.[37] Unfortunately, the public spirit was on
the decline; its religious resources, however, were well protected, save
in a minority where religion took a more aggressive character as it felt
itself less able to hold people. There were two factions in the Hamburg
public; one (the most numerous) whom religion bored, and who wished to
amuse themselves at the theatre. The other party was religious and would
not have anything to do with the opera under the impression that it was
a work of Satan, _opera diabolica_.[38] The struggle was warmly
contested between the two factions, and religious opera came to grief.
The last representation took place in 1692. When Handel arrived it was
truly the _opera diabolica_ which ran with its many extravagances and
its licentious habits.

I have told elsewhere[39] the story of this period of theatrical history
in Hamburg, of which the golden age was certainly between 1692 and 1703.
Many conditions contributed to the establishment of a good Theatre and
Opera at Hamburg; money and the wealthy patrons disposed to expend it,
an excellent band of instruments, good but small in number, a scenic art
well advanced, a luxury of decoration and machinery, renowned poets,
musicians of great value, and, rarest of all, the poets and musicians
who assembled from "die sich wohl verstanden," as Mattheson wrote. The
poets were named Bressand of Wolfenbüttel, who was inspired by the
French theatre, and Christian Postel, whom Chrysander calls very
complacently a German Metastasio. The feeblest part was the singing. For
a long time the Hamburg Opera had no professional singers. The _rôles_
were taken by students and artisans, by shoemakers, tailors, fruiterers,
and girls of little talent and less virtue; generally the artisans found
it more convenient themselves to take the female _rôles_. Men and women
alike had a profound ignorance of music. Towards 1693 the Opera at
Hamburg was fortunately completely transformed from top to bottom by the
great Kapellmeister Sigismund Cousser, who introduced reforms in the
orchestra after the French model, and in the singing on Italian lines.
France was represented in his eyes (as for all foreign musicians) by the
personage of Lully, by whom Cousser was trained for six years in Paris.
Italy was represented by a remarkable artist settled at Hanover from
1689 to 1696, who produced ten operas; Agostino Steffani from the
province of Venice.

This dual model from Italy and France, aided by the personal example of
Cousser, played the chief part in producing the best musician of the
Hamburg Opera, Reinhard Keiser, a man who, despite his character and
presumptuous knowledge, had certainly genius.[40]

Keiser was under thirty years old when Handel arrived, but he was then
at the zenith of his fame. Kapellmeister of the Hamburg Opera since
1695, then director of the theatre since the end of 1702, very highly
gifted, but of scanty culture, dissipated, voluptuous, careless, he was
the incontestable ruler of the German Opera; the artist type of that
epoch, overflowing with material life, and devoting itself to the love
of pleasure. The influence of both Lully[41] and that of Steffani[42] is
shown in his first operas. But his own personality is easily
recognizable under these traces of borrowing. He has a very fine sense
of instrumental colour, widely differing from that of the followers of
Lully, who were a little disdainful of expressive power in the
orchestra, and were always disposed to sacrifice it to the primacy of
the voice.[43] He believed, as did his admirer and commentator,
Mattheson, that one can express the feelings by means of the orchestra

He was, moreover, a true master of _recitative_; one might say that he
created the German _recitative_. He attached extreme importance to it,
saying that the expression in _recitative_ often gave the intelligent
composer much more trouble than the invention of the air.[45] He sought
to note with exactitude, accent, punctuation, the living breath itself,
without sacrificing anything of the musical beauty. His _Recitative
arioso_ takes an intermediate place between the oratorical _recitative_
of the French, and the _recitative secco_ of the Italians, and was one
of the models for the _recitative_ of J. S. Bach,[46] and even not
excepting Bach and Handel, Mattheson persists in seeing in Keiser the
master of this style.--But the real supreme gift of Keiser was his
melodic invention. In that he was one of the first artists in Germany,
and the Mozart of the first part of the eighteenth century. He had an
abundant and winning inspiration. As Mattheson said, "His true nature
was tenderness, love...." From the commencement to the end of his career
he could reproduce voluptuous feelings with such exquisite art that no
one could surpass him. His melodic style, much more advanced than that
of Handel--not only at this particular epoch but at any moment of his
life--is free, unsophisticated and happy. It is not the contrapuntal
style of Handelian Opera, but it inclines rather to that of Hasse (who
was trained entirely in it), to the symphonists of Mannheim, and to
Mozart. Never has Handel, greater and more perfect as he was, possessed
the exquisite note which breathes in the melodies of Keiser--that fresh
perfume of the simple flower of the field.[47] Keiser had the taste for
popular songs and rustic scenes,[48] but he knew also how to rise to the
very summits of classical tragedy, and some of his airs of stately
grief might have been written by Handel himself.[49] Keiser was, then,
full of lessons and of models for Handel, who was not slow to take
them,[50] but he also set him several bad examples too. The worst was
the renunciation of the national language. Whilst Postel and Schott had
been at the head of the Hamburg Opera the Italian language had been kept
within bounds,[51] but since Keiser had become Director he had changed
all that. In his _Claudius_ (1703) he made the first barbarous attempt
at a mixture of Italian and German languages. It was for him a pure
fanfare of virtuosity, and he wished to show, as he explained in his
Preface, that he was capable of beating the Italians on their own
ground. He took no account of the detriment to German Opera. Handel,
following his example, mixes, in his first operas, the airs with Italian
words with those set to German words.[52] Since that time he no longer
wrote Italian operas; and after that, his musical theatre was without
foundation and without public. The sanction of this error resulted in
Germany's neglect of Keiser's operas and even of those of Handel,
despite the genius of both composers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Handel arrived at Hamburg during the summer of 1703. One can imagine him
there at that time of life as in the portrait painted by Thornhill,
which is in the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge: a long face, calm, but
a little coarse, large and serious eyes, large and straight nose, ample
forehead, vigorous mouth, with thick lips, cheeks and chin already full,
very straight head without wig, and covered with a biretta after the
manner of Wagner. "He was rich in power, and strong in will," says
Mattheson, who, by the way, was the first acquaintance he made in
Hamburg. Mattheson, who was then twenty-two,[53] four years older than
Handel, came from a rich Hamburg family, and possessed vast knowledge.
He spoke English, Italian, French, was trained for the law, well
grounded in music, could play nearly all the instruments, and wrote
operas, of which he was the poet, the composer, and the actor all in
one. Above all he was a master theorist, and the most energetic critic
of German music. With an immense _amour-propre_ and many passionate
dislikes, he had a robust spirit, very sound, and very honest, a sort of
Boileau or of Lessing in music half a century before _la Dramaturgie_.
On the one side he combated scholastic routine and abstract science in
the name of nature, and laid down the rule that "music is that which
sounds well" ("Musik müsse schön klingen").[54] He played his part in
the banishment of the obsolete theories (solmisation, ecclesiastical
modes) and the definition of our modern system.[55] On the other hand,
he was the champion of German art and German spirit. From Lessing he
derived his patriotism, his rough independence, his impetuosity, which
seemed to possess a violence almost brutal. All his books cry "Fuori
Barbari."[56] One of his works was entitled _The Musical Patriot_ (_Der
Musikalische Patriot_, 1728).

In 1722 he founded the first German musical journal, _Critica
Musica_,[57] and all his life he waged a vigorous war for good sense,
real musical intelligence, music which speaks to the heart and not to
the ear, moving and strengthening the soul of the intelligent man with
beautiful thoughts and melodies.[58] He saw in music a religious
idea.[59] By his wide culture, his knowledge of the artistic theories of
the past, his familiarity with all the important French and Italian
works, his relationships with the principal German masters, with Keiser,
Handel, J. S. Bach, by his rich practical experience, his acute critical
sense, his ardent patriotism, his virile and flowing language, he was
well fitted to be the great musical educator of Germany, and he
accomplished his task well. In the dispersion of German artists which
took place then, in addition to the many vicissitudes of their work,
there was chiefly lacking a support of political solidarity which could
cause music to rise above the fluctuations of the tastes of little towns
and the small coteries. Mattheson was then for half a century the sole
tribune of German music, the intellect where thoughts concentrated from
all quarters, and from him radiated an influence over all the country
in return. It was thus that he preserved the ideas of Keiser, which
apart from him would have fallen into oblivion without leaving any
traces of their existence. It was these traces that he rescued out of
the _débâcle_ and preserved for us--a multitude of imperishable
souvenirs for the musical history of the eighteenth century--which
Mattheson gathered together and published in his monumental
_Ehrenpforte_.[60] He acted powerfully on his times. His books laid down
the law for the Kapellmeisters, the Cantors, the organists, and the

His criticisms, his advice on style in singing, on gesture in acting,
were no less efficacious. He possessed the real "theatre" feeling. He
expected life in the stage action, attaching considerable importance to
the pantomime "which is a silent music."[61] He waged war against the
impossible action and the want of intelligence amongst the German
singers and choralists, and he desired that the composer should think
always in writing of the action of the player. "The knowledge of facial
expression by the actors on the stage," says he, "can often be a source
of good musical ideas."[62] This is indeed the language of a true man of
the theatre.[63] For the rest, Mattheson was too good a musician to
serve music in words. He sought to unite them by safeguarding the
independence of both, but ended by giving the preference to the soul
over the body, the melody over the words. The words he wrote are the
body of the discourses; the thoughts are the soul; the melody is the sun
shining on the soul, the marvellous atmosphere which envelops it all. We
have said enough to give some idea of this great critic, intelligent and
intrepid, who, with many faults, has yet many virtues. One will see how
important it was to the young Handel to meet such a guide, even though
they were both too original and too self-sufficient for the association
to last long.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mattheson did Handel the honours of Hamburg. He introduced him at the
Opera, and the concerts, and it was through him that Handel entered for
the first time into negotiations with England, which was to become his
second country.[64] They helped one another mutually. Handel had
already an exceptional power on the organ, and in fugue and
counterpoint; above all, in improvisation. He shared his knowledge with
Mattheson, who in return helped him to perfect his melodic style.
Mattheson believed him to be a very feeble melodist. He wrote his
melodies at that time, "Oh, long, long, long" (_sehr lange lange
Arien_), and cantatas without end, which had neither ability nor good
taste, but perfect harmony.[65] It is very remarkable that melody was
not a natural gift with Handel, for he now appears to us as a melodic
genius. It is not necessary to believe that the simple, beautiful
melodies rushed forth without effort from his brain. The melodies of
Beethoven, which seem the most spontaneous, cost him years of thoughtful
work during which he brooded continually over them, and so Handel also
only came to his full power of melodic expression after years of severe
discipline, where he learnt as an apprentice-sculptor to model beautiful
forms, and to leave them neither complex nor unfinished.

Handel and Mattheson spent several months in intimate friendship.[66]
Handel joined Mattheson at table for meals, and in July and August,
1703, they made a journey together to Lubeck to hear the renowned
organist, Dietrich Buxtehude.[67] Buxtehude had thoughts of retiring,
and was looking for a successor. The two young men were greatly affected
by his talent, but they did not care to succeed him in the post, for it
was necessary to wed his daughter[68] to have his organ, and, said
Mattheson, "neither of them wanted her."--Two years later they would
have met on the road to Lubeck a young musician also going, like them,
to pay Buxtehude a visit, not like them, however, in a carriage, but
more humbly on foot: J. S. Bach.[69] Nothing makes us realise the
importance of Buxtehude in German music better than this magnet-like
attraction which he exercised over the German musicians of the
eighteenth century. Pirro has remarked at some length his influence on
the organ style of J. S. Bach. I consider that it was no less marked,
though quite different, on the oratorio style of Handel.[70]

Buxtehude gave at St. Mary's Church, Lubeck, his celebrated
_Abendmusiken_ (evening concerts), which took place on Sundays from St.
Martin's Day to Christmas,[71] by the request of the Merchants' Guilds
at Lubeck, which occupied themselves keenly with music.[72] His
cantatas, of which the number is considerable,[73] were all composed for
these occasions. Writing for a concert public, and not for a religious
service, he felt the need of making his music of a kind which would
appeal to everyone. Handel later on found himself in similar
circumstances, and the same need led them both to a similar technique.
Buxtehude avoided in his music the ornate and clustering polyphony which
was really his _métier_.[74] He sought nothing but clear, pleasing, and
striking designs, and even aimed at descriptive music. He willingly
sacrificed himself, by intensifying his expression, and what he lost in
abundance he gained in power. The homophonic character of his writing,
the neatness of his beautiful melodic designs of a popular clarity,[75]
the insistence of the rhythms and the repetition of phrases which sink
down into the heart in so obsessive a manner, are all essentially
Handelian traits. No less is the magnificent triumph of the ensembles,
his manner of painting in bold masses of light and shade.[76] It is to a
very high degree, as with the art of Handel, music for everyone.

But much time passed before Handel profited by the examples of
Buxtehude. On his return from Lubeck he seems to have forgotten them. It
was not so, however, for nothing was ever lost on him.

At the end of August, 1703, Handel entered the Hamburg orchestra as a
second violinist. He loved to amuse himself amongst his kind, and he
often made himself appear more ignorant than he was. "He behaved," said
Mattheson, "as if he did not even know how to count five, for he was a
'dry stick.'"[77] That year at Hamburg, Reiser's _Claudius_ was given at
the Opera, and many of the phrases registered themselves in Handel's
marvellous memory.[78]

When the season was finished, Mattheson made a journey to Holland, and
Handel profited by the absence of his young adviser to assert his own
individuality. He had made the acquaintance of the poet Postel, who,
old, ill, and troubled by religious scruples, had given up the writing
of opera _libretti_, and no longer wished to compose anything but sacred
works. Postel furnished Handel with the text for a _Passion according to
Saint John_, which Handel set to music, and performed during Holy Week
in 1704.[79] Mattheson, piqued at the _volte face_ which had happened in
his relationship with Handel, criticised the music severely, but not
unjustly.[80] Despite the intense feeling of certain pages, and the fine
dramatic nature of the choruses, the work was uneven, and occasionally
lacked good taste.

From this moment the friendship between Handel and Mattheson was
finished. Handel became conscious of his own genius, and could no longer
stand the protectorship of Mattheson. Other occurrences aggravated the
misunderstanding, which ended in a quarrel, which narrowly escaped a
fatal issue.[81] Following the altercation at the Opera on December 5,
1704, they fought a duel in the market-place at Hamburg, and Handel only
escaped being killed by a stroke of luck: for Mattheson's sword snapped
on a large metal button on Handel's coat, after which they embraced, and
the two companions, reconciled by Keiser, took part together in the
rehearsals of _Almira_, the first opera of Handel.[82] The first
representation took place on January 8, 1705, and the work was a
brilliant success. A second opera of Handel, _Nero_[83] was played on
February 25 following, but it had not quite the success of _Almira_.
Handel himself occupied the placards of the opera during the whole of
the winter season. It was a fine _début_. Too fine indeed, and Keiser
became jealous of him. The Hamburg Opera, however, was gradually waning.
Keiser gaily led it to its ruin. He led the life of a gay libertine,
and all the artists around him rivalled him in his follies. Alone Handel
held aloof from the follies, working hard, and spending only what was
barely necessary.[84] After the success of these two operas he resigned
his post as second violin and clavecinist to the orchestra, but
continued to give lessons, and his reputation as a composer kept pace
with that of his teaching. Keiser was uneasy. Handel's increasing
reputation aroused his _amour-propre_. Nothing was more stupid, however,
than his jealousy. He was Director of the Opera, and it was in his
interest to give those pieces which were written by popular composers,
and to maintain relationships with successful composers, but jealousy
knows no reason. He reset _Almira_ and _Nero_ to music in order to put
Handel out of joint,[85] and as he had not the opportunity of publishing
his opera _in toto_ he hastily printed the most taking solos from
each.[86] But, however quickly he went, his downfall followed faster.
Before the volume of his opera airs appeared he had to fly. This was in
the end of 1706.[87] Handel and he were destined never to meet again.

       *       *       *       *       *

Keiser having brought disaster to the Hamburg Opera, there was nothing
left to keep Handel in that city. The direction of the theatre had
fallen into the hands of a Philistine, who, to make money, played
musical farces. He certainly commissioned Handel for the opera _Florindo
und Daphne_, but he mutilated the work on its presentation "for fear,"
so he said in the Preface of the libretto, "that the music might tire
the hearers"; and lest the public should find the work too serious, he
intersected it with a farce in low German, _Die lustige Hochzeit_ (The
Joyous Wedding). One can well understand that Handel was little
interested in his piece so disfigured, and that he did not himself
attend the production, but quitted Hamburg. It was about the autumn of
1706 that he made the journey to Italy.[88] It was not, however, that
Italy particularly attracted him. Strange to say--it is not unique in
the history of art--this man, who was later on to be caught by the
fascination of Italy, and secure an European musical triumph in the
beautiful Italian style, had then a very strong repugnance for the
foreign art. When _Almira_ was being given, he made the acquaintance of
the Italian prince, Giovanni Gastone dei Medici, brother of the Grand
Duke of Tuscany.[89] He was astonished that Handel interested himself so
little in the Italian musicians, and bought him a collection of their
best works, offering to take him to Florence to hear them performed. But
Handel refused, saying that he could find nothing in these works which
deserved the Prince's eulogies, and that angels would be necessary to
sing them in order to make such mediocre things sound even
agreeable.[90] This disdain of Italy was not peculiar to Handel. It
characterised his generation, and above all, the cult of German
musicians who lived at Hamburg. Before then, and later on, the
fascination of Italy took hold of Germany. Even Hasler, Schütz, Hasse,
Gluck, and Mozart made long and earnest pilgrimages to that country, but
on the other hand J. S. Bach, Keiser, Mattheson, and Telemann never went
there. The Hamburg musicians truly wished to assimilate the Italian art,
but they never wished to place themselves under the thraldom of the
Italian school. They had the laudable ambition of creating a German
style independent of foreign influences. Handel shared these great
hopes, sustained for a time by the theatre at Hamburg, but the sudden
collapse of this theatre made him see little ground on which to build up
the taste of the musical public in Germany, and against his own
inclinations, he turned his eyes towards that habitual refuge of German
artists: Italy, which the older ones so affected to disdain, that
country where music expanded itself in the sun, where it was not cheated
out of its right of existence as with the Hamburg Pietists. It
flourished in all the Italian cities, and in all classes of Italian
society with the transports of love. And all around it was an
efflorescence of the other arts, a superior civilization, a life smiling
and radiant, of which Handel had some foretaste in his dealings with the
Italian nobles who passed through Hamburg.

He departed. His leaving was so brusque that his friends knew nothing of
it. He did not even say good-bye to Mattheson.

The period at which he arrived in Italy was not the most fortunate. The
war for the Spanish Succession was in full swing, and Handel met at
Venice, in the winter of 1706, Prince Eugène and his staff-major, who
were resting after their victorious campaign in Lombardy. He did not
stay there, but went right on to Florence, where he remained till the
end of the year.[91]

Doubtless he bore these offers of protection in mind which the Prince
Gastone dei Medici had made him. Was such protection as useful to Handel
as he had hoped? One may be allowed to doubt it. In truth the son of the
Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand, was a musician. He played the clavier
well;[92] he had caused an opera house to be built in his villa at
Pratolino; he chose the _libretti_, advised the composers, corresponded
with Alessandro Scarlatti, but he had never a very reliable taste. He
found Scarlatti's style too learned. He begged him to write some easier
music, and, as far as possible, lighter.[93] He himself did not continue
the fastidiousness of the Medici, his ancestors. He somewhat stinted his
outlay on music. He decided not to appoint Scarlatti his chapel-master,
and when this great artist asked for money at a period of embarrassment
he responded "that he would pray for him."[94] One can scarcely believe
that he was less economical in his dealings with Handel, who had less
reputation than Scarlatti. He seems to have paid little attention to him
during his first visit. The Prince himself seemed out of his element in
this new world. It was necessary for him to catch up with his times.
Handel certainly wrote some cantatas, only one of which, _Lucretia_,
with a dramatic character, was very popular in Italy and in Germany
later on.[95] Its style was nearly completely German.

From Florence he went to Rome for the Easter festivals in April, 1707.
Even there the moment was not very favourable for him. The Grand Opera
House, the _Tor di Nona_, had been destroyed as immoral by an edict of
Pope Innocent XII ten years before. Since 1700, things had been a little
easier for the musicians, but in 1703 a terrible earthquake had
desolated the country, and reawakened religious qualms.[96] Even in
1709, during the whole of Handel's sojourn in Italy, there was not a
single representation of Opera at Rome. On the other hand, religious
music and chamber music were enjoying a great vogue. Handel, during the
first months, listened and studied the religious music at Rome, and
tried his hand on similar works. From this period dated his Latin
Psalms.[97] Thanks to the letters of recommendation he had from the
Medici, he had also been introduced into the Roman _salons_. He became
famous there, more on account of his _virtuoso_ powers on the keyboard
than of those of composer. He remained at Rome until the autumn of
1707.[98] Doubtless, he returned to Florence in the month of October,
and it appears that he then produced _Roderigo_ for the first time.
Handel had then been nearly a year in Italy. He set about writing an
opera in Italian. His boldness was justified. _Roderigo_ was successful.
Handel gained through it the favour of the Grand Duke, and the love of
the Prima Donna, Vittoria Tarquini.[99] Fortified by his first victory
he went on to try his luck at Venice.

Venice was then the musical metropolis of Italy. It was in a way the
real kingdom of Opera. The first public opera house had been already
open there for half a century, and after it, fifteen other opera houses
had sprung into being. During the Carnival no less than seven opera
houses were open each evening there. Every night also a musical union
was held at the Academy of Music, and occasionally twice or even three
times in one evening. Every day in the churches, musical solemnities
and concerts, which lasted for many hours, with several orchestras, many
organs, and numerous full and echo choirs,[100] and on Saturday and
Sunday the famous Vespers of the Hospitals, those conservatoires for
women where they taught music to orphans and foundlings, or, more
frequently, to the girls who had fine voices. They gave orchestral and
vocal concerts, over which all Venice raved. Venice, indeed, was bathed
in music, the entire life was threaded with it. Life was a perpetual
round of pleasure.

When Handel arrived, the greatest of the Italian musicians, Alessandro
Scarlatti, was about to produce at St. John Chrysostom's Theatre his
chief work, _Mitridate Eupatore_, one of the rare Italian operas of
which the dramatic beauty is on a par with the musical value. Was
Alessandro Scarlatti still in Venice when Handel met him? We do not
know, but in any case he encountered him at Rome some months later, and
it appears that at that time Handel was tied by bonds of friendship to
the son of Alessandro,--Domenico.[101] He also made many other
encounters in Venice, which were destined to change his life. The
Prince of Hanover, Ernest Augustus, and the Duke of Manchester, the
English Ambassador Extraordinary at Venice, were both passionate
music-lovers, and interested themselves in Handel. The first invitations
which Handel received to go to Hanover, and to London, dated doubtless
from that time.

But if the visit to Venice was not fruitless to the future of Handel, it
brought him very little at the time. Handel could produce nothing at any
of the seven opera houses.[102] He was much happier at Rome, where he
returned at the beginning of March, 1708.[103] The renown of his
_Roderigo_ had preceded him. All the Italian merchants strove to receive
him with honour. He was the guest of the Marquis Ruspoli, whose gardens
on the Esquilino formed the bond of reunion for the Academy of the
Arcadians.[104] Handel found himself agreeably placed amongst the most
illustrious men which Italy boasted in literature, the arts, and in the
aristocracy. Arcadia, which united the nobility and the artists,[105] in
a spiritual brotherhood, counted amongst its members, Alessandro
Scarlatti, Archangelo Corelli, Bernardo Pasquini, and Benedetto
Marcello.[106] A similar _élite_ society was found at the _soirées_ of
the Cardinal Ottoboni.[107] Every Monday, in the palace of Ottoboni, as
at the meetings of the Arcadia, concerts and poetical recitations were
given. The Cardinal Prince, Superintendent of the Pontifical chapel, had
in his service the finest orchestra in Italy,[108] and the singers of
the Sistine Chapel. At the Arcadia there was also to be heard a numerous
orchestra, under the direction of Corelli, of Pasquini, or of Scarlatti.
Musical and poetical improvisation was also given there. It was that
which provoked the artistic jousts between poets and musicians.[109] It
was for the concerts at the palace of Ottoboni that Handel wrote his
two Roman oratorios, _The Resurrection_ and _The Triumph of Time and
Truth_,[110] which were really but disguised operas. One finds traces of
the Arcadia _coterie_ in the compositions which are perhaps the most
characteristic of this period in the life of Handel: the Italian
cantatas,[111] of which the reputation spread itself very wide, for J.
S. Bach made a copy of one of them before 1715.[112] Handel passed three
or four months at Rome. He was friendly with Corelli, and with the two
Scarlattis, especially with the son, Domenico, who made many trials of
virtuosity with him.[113] Perhaps he also played with Bernardo Pasquini,
whom he doubtless heard more than once on his organ at Great St. Mary's.
He was interested in the life of the Vatican, and they tried to convert
him to Catholicism, but he refused. Such was the friendly tolerance
which prevailed then at the Court of Rome that, notwithstanding the war
between the Pope and Emperor, this refusal did not alter the friendly
relationships between the young German Lutheran and the Cardinals, his
patrons. He became so attached to Rome, that it was difficult for him to
leave it until the war which approached the city obliged him to take his
way in the month of May or June, 1708, to Naples. One of the Italian
cantatas entitled _Partenza_ shows his grief at leaving the lovely
banks, the dear walls, and the beautiful waters of the Tiber.

Soon after his arrival at Naples, Alessandro Scarlatti returned to
settle there after seven years of absence.[114]

Thanks to this friendship, and his membership of the Arcadia, Handel was
received into the best circles of Neapolitan society. He remained at
Naples for nearly a year, from June, 1708, to the spring of 1709,
enjoying princely hospitality, "which placed at his disposal," says
Mainwaring, "a palace, a well-supplied table, and a coach." If the
softness of the Italian life enervated him, he appears to have wasted no
time. Not only did he assimilate the style of his friend Corelli--he
conceived in Italy a passionate love of pictures[115]--but he attempted
with a carefully cultivated dilettantism the most diverse styles, with
which the cosmopolitan society of Naples amused its careless curiosity.
Spanish and French influence fought for the honours of this city.
Handel, as indifferent as Scarlatti to the victory of either of these
parties, tried to write in the style of both.[116] He interested himself
also in the Italian popular songs and noted down the rustic melodies of
the Calabrian _Pifferari_.[117] For the Arcadians of Naples he wrote his
beautiful serenata, _Acis and Galatea_.[118] Finally he had the good
fortune to please the Viceroy of Naples--the Cardinal Grimani. He was a
Venetian and his family owned the theatre of San Grisostomo at Venice.
Grimani wrote for Handel the libretto of the opera _Agrippina_, of which
Handel probably composed part of the music at Naples. A similar
collaboration assured it of being produced at Venice without trouble.

He left Naples in the springtime, and returned to Rome, where he met, at
the Palace of the Cardinal Ottoboni, Bishop Agostino Steffani, who by a
curious combination of attributes was at the same time Kapellmeister at
the Court of Hanover, and charged with secret missions by different
German princes.[119] Steffani was one of the most finished musicians of
his time. He established a firm friendship with Handel, possibly when
travelling together to Venice, where Handel's _Agrippina_ was played at
the opening of the Carnival season, 1709-10, at the theatre of San
Giovanni Grisostomo.[120] The success exceeded all anticipations.
Mainwaring says that he took all his hearers by storm. There were great
acclamations, and cries of _Viva il caro Sassone_ and extravagances
impossible to record. The grandeur of the style struck them all like
thunder. The Italians had good reason to rejoice, for they found in
Handel a most brilliant exponent, and _Agrippina_ is the most melodious
of his Italian operas. Venice then made and unmade reputations. The
enthusiasm aroused by the representations at San Giovanni Grisostomo's
spread itself out over the whole of musical Europe. Handel remained the
whole of the winter at Venice. He seemed undecided as to what course to
follow. It was quite on the cards that he should pass through
Paris.[121] Handel had familiarised himself with the French
language.[122] He showed, as it happened, a singular attraction for the
most beautiful subjects of our French tragedy.[123] With his prodigious
adaptability, and his Latin qualities, the clarity of his lines, his
eloquence, logic, and his passionate love for form, he would have
rejoiced exceedingly in assimilating the tradition of our art, and
taking it up with an irresistible vigour.[124] But at Venice, whilst he
was still hesitating what to do, he encountered the Hanoverian nobles,
amongst whom was the Baron Kielmansegg, who invited him to follow them.
Steffani himself had offered him with a charming grace his post as
Kapellmeister at the Court of Hanover. Handel went then to Hanover.

       *       *       *       *       *

There were four brothers who became in turn Dukes of Hanover: Christian
Louis, George William, John Frederick, and Ernest Augustus.[125] All
four were under the spell of France and Italy. They passed the greater
part of their time away from their own States, choosing Venice for
preference. George William married morganatically a French lady of the
noble family of Poitou, Eléonora d'Olbreuse. John Frederick was
pensioned by Louis XIV, and became Catholic. He took Versailles for his
model, and founded an Opera in 1672 at Hanover. He had also the acumen
to call Leibnitz into his States,[126] but he took great care on his
side that he should remain there. He died in the course of a journey to
Venice. Ernest Augustus, who succeeded him, in 1680, was the patron of
Steffani. He married the beautiful and intelligent Duchess Sophia, a
Palatine princess, stepdaughter of James I Stuart, aunt of the Palatine
of France, and sister of the Princess Elizabeth, friend of
Descartes.[127] She herself was the friend and correspondent of
Leibnitz, who admired her. She had great intellectual gifts, spoke seven
languages, read widely, and had a natural taste for the beautiful. "No
one had greater gifts," said Madame her niece, Michel de Montaigne. With
great lucidity of thought, decidedly outspoken, she professed an
epicurean materialism of great superiority and intelligence.[128] Her
husband valued her little, but he was brilliant and ostentatious. They
were the most polished and distinguished couple in Germany at the Court
of Hanover.[129] Both loved music, but Ernest Augustus seems never to
have dreamt that it existed anywhere outside of Italy, and he might
almost as well have been called the "Duke of Venice" as the Duke of
Hanover, for he was constantly in Venice, and never wished to leave it
for long.[130]

The Hanover people began to murmur. The only means they could find of
keeping their Prince at home with them was to build a magnificent opera
house where spectacles and _fêtes_ resembling those in Venice could be
given. The idea was good. Ernest Augustus warmly took up the scheme for
his opera house, which, built and decorated by the Italians between 1687
and 1690, was the most beautiful in all Germany.[131] For this opera
house Steffani was engaged as Kapellmeister.[132] Agostina Steffani is
one of the most curious figures in history.[133] Born in 1653 at
Castelfranco, near Venice, of a poor family, after being a choir-boy at
St. Mark's, he was taken in 1667 to Munich by the Count of Tattenbach,
who had been the pupil of Ercole Bernabei, a master brought up in the
purest Roman style.[134] At the same time he had been given a very
complete education in literature, science, and theology, for he was
destined for the priesthood, and with a view to becoming Abbé.[135] He
was appointed organist at the Court, and music-director. Since 1681 a
set of his operas, played at Munich (and especially _Servio Tullio_ in
1685[136]), spread his renown through Germany. The Duke of Hanover
enticed him to his Court, and in 1689 the new Hanoverian theatre was
inaugurated by one of Steffani's operas, for which the Duchess Sophia
furnished, it is said, the patriotic subject _Henrico Leoni_.[137] Then
followed a set of fifteen operas of which the _mise en scène_ and music
had an amazing popularity in Germany.[138] Cousser introduced them at
Hamburg as models of true Italian song, and Keiser modelled himself
partly on them, ten years before Handel in his turn followed Keiser's
pattern. The Opera did not enjoy a long life at Hanover. The Duke alone
liked it. The Duchess Sophia had much less sympathy for this kind of
art.[139] The ballets and the masquerades put the Opera to shame.
Steffani was otherwise occupied with more serious business elsewhere. In
the Treaty of Augsburg, Ernest Augustus of Hanover had taken sides with
the Emperor. To recompense his fidelity the Emperor bestowed on him the
dignity of Prince-Elect, but in the confusion of the Empire it was not
easy to clear up the situation. It was necessary to send an Ambassador
Extraordinary to the great German Courts. The choice of all fell on
Steffani, who, being a Catholic Abbé, could more easily serve as
intermediary between the Protestant Court of Hanover and the Catholic
Courts;[140] his mission was so well accomplished that in 1697 the Duke
of Hanover obtained for him the title of Elector. This astonishing
diplomat had found the means of writing operas. After the death of
Ernest Augustus in 1698 he gave up opera writing, but continued to
occupy himself with politics. He became in 1703 the secret adviser to
the Elector Palatine, the President of the Religious Council, who was
created a noble. At the same time Pope Innocent II made him in 1706
Bishop of Spiga.[141] The Elector Palatine created him his Grand Almoner
and gave him charge of the Italian and Latin correspondence with the
Duke of Brunswick. From November, 1708, to April, 1709, Steffani stayed
at Rome, where the Pope crowded honours on him, making him Prelate of
the Chamber, Assistant to the Throne, Abbé of St. Steffano in Carrara,
and Apostolic Vicar of the north of Germany, with the supervision of the
Catholics in Palatine, Brunswick, and Brandenburg.[142] Then it was, as
we have seen, that he met Handel. It is necessary to sketch briefly the
life of this extraordinary personage, who was at the same time Abbé,
Bishop, Apostolic Vicar, intimate Councillor and Ambassador of Princes,
organist, Kapellmeister, musical critic,[143] chief singer,[144] and yet
composer--not only for the interest of his personality, but because he
exercised considerable influence on Handel, who always retained a
pleasant remembrance of him.

The feature in Steffani's art, and that by which he is superior to all
of his own time, is his mastery of the art of singing. Well accustomed
as all the Italians were to it, none wrote so purely for the voice as
he. Scarlatti was not concerned with carrying the voice to its full
limits, either for an expressive purpose or with a concerted intention.
Thus in Steffani, as Hugo Goldschmidt says, "the singer held the pen."
His work is the most perfect picture of Italian song in a golden age,
and Handel owes to it his very refined feeling for the _bel canto_. In
truth Steffani's operas gained little by this virtuosity. They were
mediocre from the dramatic point of view, not very expressive, abused
the vocalisation, and were essentially operas for singers.[145] They
revealed a curious harmonic vein, and a contrapuntal alertness, which
strongly contrasted with the nearly homophonic writing of Lully,[146]
but the principal glory of Steffani was in his chamber vocal music, and
especially in his duets.[147] These duets are of various types, and of
various lengths. One is a single piece. Others are in the _Da Capo_
form. Some are veritable cantatas with recitatives, soli, and duets.
Others are consecutive pieces, forming, as it were, little song-cycles.
The writing in this form was evolved from Schütz and Bernabei to Handel
and Telemann, but their inner construction is usually the same: the
first voice announces alone the first phrase, which reflects the poetic
emotion of the piece; the second voice repeats the subject in the unison
or in the octave; with the second subject the voices leave the unison
and indulge in canonic imitations which are freely treated. Then a
return is made to the first part, which concludes the piece. When the
duet is more developed, after the first air in the minor key, a second
one comes in the major, where virtuosity is given free play, after which
the minor air recurs. These works possess an admirable melodic beauty,
and an expression often quite profound. In the lighter subjects Steffani
has an easy gracefulness, the elegant fancy of Scarlatti. In his sad
moments he reaches the highest models: from Schütz, from Provenzale,
even to J. S. Bach. He is one of the greatest lyricists in the music of
the seventeenth century.[148] These duets set the style in this form of
work. The _rôle_ played by Steffani in music can very well be compared
with that of Fra Bartolommeo in painting;--both applied themselves with
perfect art, and steadfast spirit, to find the laws of composition in
limited and restrained forms: Fra Bartolommeo sought for the balance of
groups, and the harmony of lines in scenes, with three or four persons
grouped in a round picture; Steffani concentrated all the efforts of his
ingenuity, invention, and artistic science into the somewhat limited
form of the duet. These two religious artists both have a luminous art;
both are sure of themselves, have learning and simplicity, with little
or no passion. Their souls are noble, pure, a little impersonal. They
were intended to prepare the way for others. As Chrysander says, "Handel
walked in the steps of Steffani, but his feet were larger."

       *       *       *       *       *

Handel made only a short stay at Hanover in 1710. Hardly had he taken up
his duties when he asked and obtained leave to go to England, from
whence proposals had been made to him. He crossed Holland, and arrived
at London at the end of the autumn, 1710. He was then twenty-five years
old. The English musical era was broken off. Fifteen years before,
England had lost its greatest musician, Henry Purcell, who died
prematurely at the age of thirty-six.[149]

In his short life he had produced a considerable amount of work: operas,
cantatas, religious music, and instrumental pieces. He was a cultured
genius, and intimately acquainted with Lully, Carissimi, and the Italian
sonatas, at the same time very English, possessing the gift of
spontaneous melody, and never losing contact with the spirit of the
British race. His art was full of grace and delicacy, much more
aristocratic than that of Lully. He is the Van Dyck of music. Everything
of his is of extreme elegance, refinement, ease, slightly _exsangue_.
His art is natural: always steeped in the country life which is indeed
the source of the English inspiration. There are no operas of the
seventeenth century where one finds fresher melodies which are more
inspired and yet of a popular character. This charming artist was
delicate, of a weak constitution, somewhat feminine in character,
feeble, and of little stamina. His poetic languor was his strongest
appeal, and at the same time his weak point; he was prevented from
following his artistic progress with the tenacity of a Handel. Most of
his works lack finish. He never tried to break down the final barriers
which separated him from perfection. His musical compositions are
sketches of genius with strange weaknesses. He produced many hastily
finished operas with singular awkwardnesses in the manner of treating
the instruments and the voice,--ill-fitting cadences, monotonous
rhythms, a spoilt harmonic tissue, and, finally, in his larger pieces
and those of grander scale, there is a lack of breath, a sort of
physical exhaustion, which prevents him reaching the end of his superb
ideas. But it is necessary to take him for what he is, one of the most
poetic figures in music--smiling, yet a little elegiac--a miniature
Mozart eternally convalescent. Nothing vulgar, nothing brutal, ever
enters his music. Captivating melodies, coming straight from the heart,
where the purest of English souls mirrors itself. Full of delicate
harmonies, of caressing dissonances, a taste for the clashing of
sevenths and seconds, of incessant poising between the major and minor,
and with delicate and varied nuances of a pale tint, vague and slightly
blurred, like the springtime sun piercing through a light mist.[150] He
only wrote one real opera, the admirable _Dido and Æneas_, of 1680.[151]
His other dramatic works, very numerous, were music for the stage, and
the most beautiful type of this kind is that which he wrote for Dryden's
_King Arthur_ in 1691. This music is nearly all episodical. One cannot
remove it without causing the essential action to suffer. The English
taste was impatient of operas sung from one end to the other, and in
Handel's time Addison endeavoured to voice this national repugnance in
his _Spectator_.

It was a good thing that Handel had an altogether different idea of
opera, and that his personality differed greatly from that of Purcell,
which left him no point for profiting (as he had done with others) by
the genius of his predecessor. Arriving in a strange country, of which
he did not even know the language or the spirit, it was natural that he
should take the English master as his guide. Hence the analogies between
them. Purcell's Odes often give one the impression of being merely a
sketch of the cantatas and oratorios of Handel. One finds there the same
architectural style, the same contrast of movements, of instrumental
colours, of large ensembles, and of _soli_. Certain dances,[152] some of
the heroic airs, with irresistible rhythms and triumphant fanfares,[153]
are there already before Handel, but they are only there as brilliant
flashes with Purcell. Both his personality and his art were different.
Like so many fine musicians of that time, he has been swallowed up in
Handel, just as a stream of water loses itself in a river. But there was
nevertheless in this little spring a poetry peculiar to England, which
the entire work of Handel has not--nor can have.

Since the death of Purcell the fount of English music had dried up.
Foreign elements submerged it.[154] A renewal of Puritanical opposition
which attacked the English stage contributed to the discouragement and
abdication of the national artists.[155] The last master of the great
epoch, John Blow, an estimable artist, famous in his time, whose
personality is a little grey and faded, was not wanting in distinction
or in expressive feeling--but he had then withdrawn himself into his
religious thoughts.[156]

In the absence of English composers, the Italians took possession of the
field.[157] An old musician of the Chapel Royal, Thomas Clayton, brought
from Italy some opera _libretti_, scores, and singers. He took an old
_libretto_ from Boulogne, caused it to be translated into English by a
Frenchman, and clumsily adapted it to music of little worth; and, such
as it was, he proudly called it "The first musical drama which has been
entirely composed and produced in England in the Italian style,
_Arsinoé, Queen of Cyprus_." This nullity, played at Drury Lane in 1705,
had a great success, which even exceeded the authentic Italian opera
given in the following year in London, _Camilla, regina de' Volsci_, by
Marc Antonio Bononcini.[158] Vainly Addison tried to battle against the
Italian invasion. By writing skits on the snobbism of the public with
pleasant irony, he endeavoured to oppose the Italian Opera with a
national English one.[159] He was defeated, and with him the entire
English theatre collapsed.[160] "Thomyris" in 1707 inaugurated the
representations half in Italian and half in English, and after the
_Almahade_ in January, 1710, all was in Italian. No English musician
attempted to continue the struggle.[161]

When Handel arrived then, at the end of 1710, national art was dead. It
would be absurd to say, as some have often done, that he killed English
music. There was nothing left to kill. London had not a single composer.
On the other hand, she was rich in excellent players. Above all she
possessed one of the best troupes of Italian singers which could be
found in Europe. Having been presented to the Queen Anne, who loved
music, and played the clavier well, Handel was received with open arms
by the Director of the Opera, Aaron Hill. He was an extraordinary
person, who travelled in the East, wrote a history of the Ottoman
Empire, composed tragedies, translated Voltaire, founded the "Beech Oil
Company" for extracting the oil from the wood of the beech, mixing it
with chemicals and using it for the construction of ships. This
orchestral man composed during a meeting the plan of an opera, after
_Jerusalem Delivered_. It was _Rinaldo_, which was written, poem and
music, in fourteen days, and played for the first time on February 24,
1711, at the Haymarket.

Its success was immense. It decided the victory of the Italian Opera in
London, and when the singer, Nicolini, who took the _rôle_ of Renaud,
left England he carried the score to Naples, where he had it produced in
1718, with the aid of young Leonardo Leo. The _Rinaldo_ marked a
turning-point in musical history. The Italian Opera, which had conquered
Europe, began to be conquered in its turn by foreign musicians, who had
been formed by it--the Italianised Germans. After Handel it was Hasse,
then Gluck, and finally Mozart; but Handel is the first of the
conquerors.[162] After _Rinaldo_, and until the time when Handel had
settled definitely in London, that is to say, between 1711 and the end
of 1716, was an indecisive period which oscillated between Germany and
England, and between religious music and the Opera.

Handel, who bore the title of Kapellmeister of Hanover, returned to his
post in June, 1711.[163] At Hanover he found the Bishop Steffani again,
and attempted to write in his style. In this imitation he composed some
twenty chamber duets, which did not come up to their model, and some
beautiful German songs on the poems by Brockes.[164] Several of his best
instrumental pages, his first Oboe Concertos, his Sonatas for Flute and
Bass,[165] seem to date from this time. The cavaliers of the Court of
Hanover were ardent flautists, and the orchestra, under the direction of
Farinel, was excellent; especially had the oboes reached a high degree
of virtuosity, which has hardly been approached at the present day. On
the other hand, the Opera at Hanover was closed, and Handel could not
even give _Rinaldo_.

He had a taste of the theatre, and did not like abandoning his plan; so
he turned his eyes again towards London. Having tested the soil of
England, and judged it favourable, Handel decided to establish himself
there. He received regular news from England whilst in Hanover.[166]
Since his departure no opera could hold its own except _Rinaldo_. The
English amateurs recalled him, and Handel, burning to depart, asked for
a new leave from the Court of Hanover. This was granted on the easiest
of terms: "on condition that he returned after a reasonable time."[167]

He returned to London towards the end of November, 1712, in time to
supervise the representation of a pastoral, _Il Pastor Fido_, a hasty
work, from which he abstracted the best airs later on.[168] Twenty days
later he had finished writing _Teseo_, a tragic opera in five very short
acts,[169] full of haste and of genius, which was given in January,

Handel endeavoured to settle himself firmly in England. He associated
himself with the loyalty and pride of the nation by writing for
political celebrations. The conclusion of the Peace of Utrecht, a
glorious day for England, approached. Handel prepared a _Te Deum_, which
was already finished in January, 1713, but the laws of England forbade
a foreigner to be charged with composing music for official ceremonies.
Parliament alone could authorise the representation of this production.
Handel cleverly wrote the flattering Ode for the anniversary of the
birth of Queen Anne, _Birthday Ode of Queen Anne_. The Ode was performed
at St. James's on February 6, 1713, and the Queen, enchanted with the
work, commanded Handel to write the _Te Deum_ and the _Jubilate_ for the
Peace of Utrecht, which was played on July 7, 1713, at a solemn service
at St. Paul's, on which occasion the Members of Parliament attended.
These works, in which Handel was helped by the example of Purcell,[170]
were his first great efforts in the monumental style.

Handel had succeeded in securing, despite precedent, the post of
Official Composer to the English Court. But he had not acted without
grave neglect of his duties towards other masters, the princes of
Hanover, in whose services he still was. The relationship was extremely
strained between the cousin by heritage and her poor parents at Hanover.
Queen Anne had taken a dislike to them, especially as she could not
endure the intelligent Duchess Sophia. She made up songs about her, and
dealt secretly with the Pretender Stuart, for whom she wished to secure
the Heritage. In remaining in her service then, Handel took sides
against his sovereign at Hanover. Certain historians have even breathed
the word "treason." It is the only fault which his biographer,
Chrysander, does not excuse, for it wounded his German patriotism. But
it is very necessary to say here that of German patriotism Handel had
hardly any. He had the mentality of the great German artists of his
time, for whom the country was art and religion; the State mattered
little to him.

He lived then amongst the English patrons--for a year with a wealthy
music lover in Surrey--then in Piccadilly at Lord Burlington's palace.
He remained there three years. Pope and Swift were familiars in the
house, which Gay had described. Handel performed there on the organ and
clavecin before the _élite_ of London society by whom he was much
admired--with the exception of Pope, who did not like music. He composed
a little,[171] being satisfied to exist, as in his sojourn at Naples,
waiting without hurry to be saturated by the English atmosphere. Handel
was one of those who can write three operas in two months, and then do
nothing more for a year. It is the rule of the torrential river which
sometimes overflows, and then runs dry. He awaited the course of events.
The inheritors of Hanover seemed decidedly ousted. The Duchess Sophia
died on June 7, 1714, Chrysander says of grief (but it was certainly
also apoplexy)--convinced that the Stuart would attain the coveted
heritage. Less than ever did Handel breathe a word of returning to
Hanover, but chance upset all his plans. Two months after the death of
the Duchess Sophia, Queen Anne died suddenly on August 1, 1714. The same
day, in the confusion into which events had thrown the Stuart party,
George of Hanover was proclaimed King by the secret council. On
September 20 he arrived in London. He was crowned at Westminster on
October 20, and Handel, very perturbed at the thought of his _Ode to
Queen Anne_, had the mortification of seeing that had he waited another
year his _Te Deum_ would have served for the enthronement of the new

To do him full justice, he did not seem much discomfited by this turn of
fortune's wheel. He did not put himself about to ask for pardon. He set
to work instead and wrote _Amadigi_. It was the very best way for him to
plead his cause. George I of Hanover had many faults, but he had one
good quality. He loved music sincerely, and this passion was shared by
very many of the people more or less notable in his Court. Music had
always been for Germany the fountain where soiled hearts purified
themselves, the redemption from the petty basenesses of "the daily
round, the common task." Whatever King George thought of Handel, he
could not punish him without punishing himself. After the success of his
charming _Amadigi_, played for the first time on May 25, 1715, he had
not the courage to harbour malice any longer against his musician. They
were reconciled.[172] Handel resumed his post of Kapellmeister at
Hanover by now acting as the music master to the little princesses, and
when the King went to Hanover in July, 1716, Handel travelled with him.


(_From a Painting._)]

It was not that he had much occupation at the Court. The King was too
engrossed in State business, and with hunting. He did not even find time
to be anxious about his old retainer, Leibnitz, who died at Hanover on
November 14, 1716, unnoticed at Court. Handel took advantage of this
leisure to renew his acquaintance with the German art.

There was then in Germany a fashion for musical Passions. There was a
religious and theatrical tendency at that time. One cannot separate the
influence of Pietism and that of the Opera. Keiser, Telemann, Mattheson,
all wrote Passions, which caused a great stir[173] at Hamburg, on the
famous text of the Senator Brockes. Following their example, perhaps in
order to measure himself with these men, who had all three been rivals
or friends,[174] Handel took the same text and wrote on it in 1716 his
_Passion after Brockes_. This powerful and disparate work, where bad
taste mingles with the sublime, where affectation and pomposity are
mingled with the most profound and serious art--a work which J. S. Bach
knew well, and very carefully remembered--was for Handel a decided
experience. He felt in writing it what a great gulf separated him from
the Pietist German art, and on his return to England[175] he composed
the _Psalms_ and _Esther_.

       *       *       *       *       *

This was the principal epoch of his life. Between 1717 and 1720, whilst
he was in the service of the Duke of Chandos,[176] he made a careful
examination of his own personality, and created a new style in music,
and for the theatre.

The Chandos Anthems or Psalms[177] stand, in relationship to Handel's
oratorios, in the same position as his Italian cantatas stand to his
operas: they are splendid sketches of the more monumental works. In
these religious cantatas, written for the Duke's chapel, Handel gives
the first place to the choruses: it is the exact words of the Bible
which they sing. Strong heroic words, freed from all the commentary and
sentimental effusions with which German Pietism had loaded them. There
is already in them the spirit and the style of _Israel in Egypt_, the
great monumental lines, the popular feeling.

It was only a step from this to the colossal Biblical dramas. Handel
took the step with _Esther_, which in its first form was entitled _Haman
and Mordecai, a masque_.[178]

Quite possibly the work had its first presentation at the Duke of
Chandos', but on August 29, 1720, it was presented on the stage. It was
in any case one of the greatest tragedies in the old style which had
been written since the Grecian period. It was as though the spirit of
Handel had been led insensibly towards the Hellenic ideal, for he
composed nearly at the same time his pastoral tragedy _Acis and
Galatea_, to which he also gave the name of masque,[179] and which did
not disengage itself from the complete idea of a free theatre. This
little masterpiece of poetry,[180] and of music, where the beautiful
Sicilian legend unfolds itself in pictures smiling and mournful, has a
classical perfection which Handel never surpassed.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Esther_ and _Acis_ bore witness to Handel's desire to bring to the
surface of dramatic action all the powers of choral and symphonic music.
Even in these two works, which unquestionably opened up the way for his
future oratorios, it is not the oratorio which is his aim, but the
opera. Always attracted by the theatre, only a succession of disasters
of accumulating ruin thrust him away later against his will. So it is
natural to find him at the same time when he was writing _Esther_ and
_Acis_, also undertaking the musical direction of a theatre enterprise,
which led later on to one of the most important steps of his life, the
Academy of Italian Opera.[181]

Handel saw, it is said, in the year 1720 the end of his years of
apprenticeship; he certainly terminated (although he knew it not) his
years of tranquillity. Up to then he had led the life of numberless
other great musicians, who lived under the protection of princes, and
wrote for a select audience. He had only occasion to leave this path,
with his religious and national works, where he had voiced a people's
feelings. After 1720, and indeed up to the time of his death, all the
rest of his art belonged to everybody. He put himself at the head of a
theatre, and opened a struggle with the public at large. He exerted
prodigious vitality, writing two or three operas every year, knocking
into shape an undisciplined troupe of _virtuosi_ smothered with pride,
harassed with intrigues, hindered by bankruptcy, using his genius for
twenty years in the paradoxical task of thrusting on London a shaky and
shallow Italian opera, which could not live under a sun and in a climate
unsuitable to it. At the end of this strife, enraged, conquered, but
invincible, sowing on his way all his masterpieces, he reached the
pinnacle of his art--those grand oratorios which rendered him immortal.

After a voyage in Germany to Hanover, to Halle, to Düsseldorf, and to
Dresden, to recruit for his troupe of Italian singers,[182] Handel
inaugurated at the Haymarket Theatre the London Opera of April 27, 1720,
with his _Radamisto_, which was dedicated to the King.[183] The rush of
the public was very great indeed, but it was due more to curiosity than
to the turn of the fashion. Soon the snobbishness of the amateurs could
no longer content itself with Italianized German as the representative
of Italian Opera, and finally Lord Burlington, Handel's former patron,
went to Rome to induce the king of the Italian style, Giovanni
Bononcini, to come over.[184]

Bononcini came from Modena. He was about fifty years old,[185] son of an
artist of great merit, Giovanni Bononcini, whose premature death cut
short a career rich with promise.[186] Brought up with an almost
paternal affection by one of the first masters of that epoch, one of the
few who had preserved the cult and the science of the past, Giampaolo
Colonna, organist of St. Pietronio at Bologna, he had benefited early in
life by a high princely, even Imperial,[187] protection. More precocious
even than Handel, he published his first works at the age of thirteen,
was member of the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna at fourteen, and
master of the Chapel at fifteen. His first works were instrumental. This
was his speciality, having inherited his gift from his father.[188] He
only reached the Opera after having tried all the other styles. It was
not with him a natural calling. He was a born concert musician, and he
remained so even in the Opera. His tours in Germany and in Austria,
where he was created Imperial Composer in 1700, and gave his _Polifemo_
at Berlin in 1703,[189] fully established his renown in Europe. His
music spread in France after 1706 and excited there an almost incredible
infatuation.[190] When in Italy his reputation surpassed even that of
Scarlatti, who himself, according to Mr. Dent, came under his influence
to a small extent. He had a European vogue for about ten or fifteen
years. He was, so to speak, the reflection of the society of his time.

What strikes one in his music, if we are to believe Lecerf de la
Viéville, is the boldness of his modulations, the abundance of his vocal
ornaments, the unruliness of his mind. His style seemed to the Lullyists
that of the affected and distorted order as opposed to the school of
common sense. Bononcini was a "verticalist" then, differing from the
"horizontalists" of the preceding epoch.[191] He was essentially a
sensuous musician, and an anti-intellectualist. Right from the
beginning, as an instrumental composer he always remained indifferent to
his poems, to his subjects, and to everything which was outside of
music. In his music he set a pleasing sonority above everything;[192]
and it was evidently on this account that his work required less effort
of the intelligence than was necessitated by the severe art of
Scarlatti, or the recitative and expressive art of Lully.[193] In him
was inaugurated the reaction of fashionable good taste in the general
public against that of the savant.[194] Contrast the grand airs _Da
Capo_, broadly developed in a more or less contrapuntal fashion, with
his tiny little airs, also _Da Capo_, but in miniature, easy to
understand, which touched the popular feeling for melody. He carefully
perfumed it and served it up for the taste of the elegant and
fashionable.[195] This distinguished simplicity, this delicate
sensibility, rather feeble, always so correct in its audacities and
restrained in its pleasures, made Bononcini a drawing-room favourite, a
fashionable revolutionary. The more he worked, the more his traits were
accentuated, and became permanent. As happens to all artists who enjoy
too much success, this reacted on his art, and imposed on him the
repetition of certain fixed patterns. The natural laziness of Bononcini
only exaggerated this tendency, so that from year to year this
affectedness appeared in his art, making it quite mechanical. His music,
often beautiful and gracious, always harmonious, never expressive,
unrolled itself as a succession of elegant and highly finished subjects,
all cut out as if with scissors on the same pattern, and indefinitely
repeated. At first in London one was only conscious of his charm. The
personality of the musician added to the attractions of his music. The
gentle Italian had polished manners, a quality at once lovable, and
penetrated by a bold courage. He was a _virtuoso_ like Handel, but on an
instrument more distinguished than the clavier--on the violoncello; and
he was listened to with respect in the aristocratic _salons_. He was, so
to speak, the author _à la mode_; and his _Astarto_,[196] given at the
end of 1720, erased the impression made by Handel's _Radamisto_.

Handel had his work cut out. He was not suited to strive with Bononcini
on the ground of Italianism. However, he was up against the wall. The
English public, always keen on bear fights, cock fights, and _virtuoso_
contests, amused themselves by arranging a joust between Bononcini and
Handel. They were to be tested by an opera written in combination.
Handel took up the glove--and was beaten. His _Muzio Scevola_[197]
(March, 1721) is very feeble, and the _Floridante_ which followed
(December 9, 1721) is little better. The success of the Italian
increased his fame, and the pretty _Griselda_ (February, 1722)
consummated Bononcini's glory. He benefited by the strenuous opposition
of the English _littérateurs_, and the leading aristocrats, against the
Hanoverian Court and the German artists.

Handel's situation was much involved, but he took his revenge with the
melodious opera _Ottone_ (January 12, 1723), which was the most popular
of all his operas. Victorious then,[198] he went straight ahead without
troubling himself about Bononcini, and he composed, one after another,
three masterpieces in which he inaugurated a new musical theatre, as
musically rich, and more dramatic than that of Rameau, some ten years
later: _Guilio Cesare_ (February 20, 1724); _Tamerlano_ (October 21,
1724), and _Rodelinda_ (February 13, 1725). The last of _Tamerlano_ is a
magnificent example of the great music drama, an example nearly unique
before Gluck, in its poignancy and passion. Bononcini's party was
definitely ruined,[199] but the greatest difficulties now began for
Handel. The London Opera was delivered over into the hands of _Castrati_
and _Prime Donne_, and the extravagances of their supporters. In 1726
there arrived the most celebrated Italian singer of the time, the famous
Faustina.[200] From this moment the London representations became mere
jousts of song between Faustina and Cuzzoni--jousts as strenuous as the
shouting of their various partisans. Handel wrote his _Alessandro_ (May
5, 1721) for an artistic duel between the two stars of his troupe, who
acted as the two mistresses of _Alessandro_.[201] In spite of all, his
dramatic genius won the day by several sublime scenes from _Almeto_
(January 31, 1727), the grandeur of which veritably seized hold of the
public. But the rivalry of the singers, far from being appeased,
redoubled in fury. Each party had its hired pamphleteers, who let loose
on the adversary the most degrading libels. Cuzzoni and Faustina
reached such a state of rage that on June 6, 1727, during the play, they
fought and tore each other's hair unmercifully, amidst the yells of the
audience, the Princess of Wales being present.[202]

After this everything went to the dogs. Handel tried hard to take the
reins, but, as his friend Arbuthnot said, "the devil was loose, and
could never be caged again." The battle was lost, despite three new
works of Handel, where his genius again shone forth: _Riccardo I_
(November 11, 1727); _Siroe_ (February 17, 1728); and _Tolomeo_ (April
30, 1728). A little venture by John Gay and by Pepusch, _The Beggar's
Opera_ (A War Opera) finished the defeat of the London Academy of
Opera.[203] This excellent operetta, spoken in dialogue, with popular
songs interspersed, was at the same time a trenchant satire on Walpole,
and a spirited parody of the ridiculous sides of the opera.[204] Its
immense success took the character of a national manifestation. It was
a reaction of popular common sense against the pompous childishnesses of
the Italian Opera, and against the snobbishness which attempted to
impose it on other nations. We see in this the first blow struck at the
triumphant Italianism. Nationality awoke. In 1729 the _Passion according
to St. Matthew_ was given. Some years later Handel's earlier oratorios
were performed, and also the first operas of Rameau. In 1728 to 1729
Martin Heinrich Fuhrmann entered the campaign against Italian Opera with
his famous pamphlets. After him, Mattheson re-entered the ring: _The
Goths and their Hippogriffs to be purified in the crater of Etna_. But
nowhere was this national reaction so widely spread as in England, where
it roused itself with such robust humour, as with Swift and with Pope,
those famous layers of ghosts[205] and dreams.

       *       *       *       *       *

Handel felt this. After 1727 he sought steadily to establish himself on
the national English soil. He had become a naturalized Englishman on
February 13, 1726. He wrote for the Coronation of the new King, George
II, his Coronation Anthems,[206] September 11, 1727.[207] He returned to
his plans for the English oratorios.

But he was not yet sufficiently sure of his ground, nor of the public
taste, to justify him in completely throwing over the Italian Opera, for
he realized more than before the resources of the people and what he
could do with them. Besides, the collapse of the London Academy of Opera
had not touched his personal prestige. He was regarded, not only in
England, but also in France, as the greatest man of the Lyric
Theatre.[208] His London Italian operas became known all over Europe.

    _Flavius, Tamerlan, Othon, Renaud, César,_
    _Admete, Siroé, Rodelinde, et Richard,_
    _Éternels monumens dressés à sa mémoire,_
    _Des operas Romains surpassèrent la gloire,_
    _Venise lui peut-elle opposer un rival?_[209]

One can well understand, then, that Handel was tempted by the desire of
taking on his own shoulders, without the control which hampered him, the
complete enterprise of the Italian Opera. At the end of the summer of
1728 he went to Italy in search of new arms for the strife. In the
course of this tour, which lasted nearly a year,[210] he recruited his
singers, renewed his collection of _libretti_ and Italian scores. Above
all, he refreshed his Italianism at the source of the new School of
Opera, founded by Leonardo Vinci,[211] which reacted against the concert
style in the theatre, and sought to give back to Opera a more dramatic
character, even at the risk of impoverishing the music.

Without sacrificing the richness of his style, Handel did not neglect to
profit by these examples in his new operas: _Lotario_ (December, 1729),
_Partenope_ (February, 1730), _Poro_ (February, 1731), _Ezio_ (January,
1732), which are notable (particularly the last two) by the beauty of
the melodic writing, and the dramatic power of certain pages. The
masterpiece of this period is _Orlando_ (January 27, 1733), of which the
richness and musical perfection are on a level with the insight into the
characters, and the spirited and passionate life of the piece. If the
_Tamerlano_ of 1724 awakens ideas of Gluck's tragedies, it is the
beautiful operas of Mozart which come to mind in _Orlando_.

In continuation of the strife for the Italian Opera, Handel profited by
the unexpected success with which the English people had met the
reproduction of his _Acis and Galatea_ and his _Esther_,[212] written to
English words, and he attempted again, in a more conscientious fashion
than ten years before at Chandos', to found a form of musical theatre,
freer and richer, where the lyricism of the choruses had free play. For
the reproduction of _Esther_ in 1732 he introduced into the work of 1720
the most beautiful choruses from the Coronation Anthems. In the
following year he wrote _Deborah_ (March 17, 1733), and _Athaliah_ (July
10, 1733), where the chorus took first place. These grand Biblical
dramas would have been able to have awakened in the English nation an
enthusiastic response, were it not that this attempt was damaged by a
violent quarrel inspired by personal reasons, where art counted for
nothing. A dead set was made against _Deborah_,[213] and though
_Athaliah_ succeeded at Oxford,[214] Handel did not present it in London
until two years later.

Once again Handel returned to Italian Opera. The public hatred pursued
him here also. The royal family of Hanover was detested. It added to its
own discredit by the scandalous disputes which took place between the
King and his son. The Prince of Wales, in a spirit of petty spite
against his father, who showed his affection for Handel, amused himself
by attempting to ruin the composer. Encouraged by the opposition, and
enchanted by the idea of making sport against the King, he founded a
rival opera house, and as he could no longer set Bononcini up against
Handel, as the former had been discredited by a case of flagrant
plagiarism, which had an European circulation,[215] he approached
Porpora, with a view to directing his theatre. "Then," says Lord Hervey,
"the struggle became as serious as that of the Greens against the Blues
at Constantinople under Justinian. An anti-Handelian was regarded as an
anti-Royalist, and in Parliament, to vote against the Court was hardly
more dangerous than to speak against Handel." On the other hand, the
immense unpopularity of the King redounded on Handel, and the
aristocracy combined to secure his downfall.

He accepted the challenge, and after a third tour in Italy during the
summer of 1733, again to recruit more singers, he bravely took up the
fight with Porpora, to whom was added Hasse in 1734. They were the
greatest rivals against which he had yet measured himself. But Hasse and
Porpora had strong dramatic feeling, and especially were they the most
perfect masters of the beautiful art of Italian melody and singing.[216]
Nicolo Porpora, who came from Naples, was forty-seven years old. He had
a cold but vigorous spirit, intelligent and possessing more than anyone
else, except Hasse, all the resources of the Italian singing. His style
was very beautiful, and it was not less broad than that of Handel. No
other Italian musician of his time had such ample breadth of
phrasing.[217] His writings seem of a later age than Handel's, and
approximate to the time of Gluck and Mozart. Whilst Handel, despite his
marvellous feeling for plastic beauty, often treated the voices as an
instrument, and in his development the beautiful Italian lines
occasionally became weighed down by German complexity, Porpora's music
always kept within the bounds of classic purity, though the form was a
little uninteresting in design. History has never done him sufficient
justice.[218] He was quite worthy of measuring himself against Handel,
and the comparison between Handel's _Arianna_ and that of Porpora,
played at an interval of a few weeks,[219] did not prove to the
advantage of the former. Handel's music is elegant, but one does not
find the breadth of certain airs in Porpora's _Arianna à Naxos_. The
form of these airs is perhaps of too classic a correctness, but the
right Grecian breezes blow across his Roman temples.[220] He has been
claimed as an Italian disciple of Gluck--a curious criticism which is
bestowed occasionally on precursors. It was so with Jacopo della
Quercia, who inspired Michael Angelo, and to whom the latter seems to
owe something.

Hasse was even superior to Porpora in the charm of his melody, which
Mozart alone has equalled, and in his symphonic gifts, which showed
themselves in his rich instrumental accompaniments no less melodious
than his songs.[221] Handel was not slow to discover the folly of
striving with Hasse on Italian ground. His superiority was with the
choruses; he sought to introduce them into the Opera after the French
model. The situation was even less promising for him on the departure of
his best protectrix, the Princess Anne, sister of the Prince of
Wales.[222] After having compromised Handel by the strong feeling which
she had shown in defending him, she left him to the tender cares of the
enemies which she had made for him. She left England in April, 1734, to
join her husband the Prince of Orange[223] in Holland.

Handel came to be abandoned by his old friends. His associate,
Heidegger, the proprietor of the Haymarket Theatre, took the hall for a
rival opera, and Handel, driven from the house in which he had worked
for fourteen years, had to emigrate with his troupe to John Rich's place
at Covent Garden[224]--a sort of music-hall where Opera took its turn
with all kinds of other spectacles: ballets, pantomimes, and
harlequinades. In Rich's troupe some French dancers were to be found,
amongst whom was "_la Salle_,"[225] who was shortly to arouse great
enthusiasm amongst the English public with two tragic dances:
_Pygmalion_ and _Bacchus and Ariadne_.[226] Handel, who had known the
French art[227] for a long time, saw how far he could draw on these new
resources, and he opened the season of 1734 at Covent Garden with a
first attempt in the field of the French ballet opera: _Terpsichore_
(November 9, 1734), in which "_la Salle_" took the principal _rôle_. A
month later a _Pasticcio_ followed, _Orestes_, where Handel gave a
similar important part to "_la Salle_," and to her expressive dances.
Finally, he intermingled the dance and the choruses closely with the
dramatic action in two masterpieces of poetry and beautiful musical
construction--_Ariodante_ (January 8, 1735), and especially _Alcina_
(April 16, 1735).

Bad luck still pursued him. Some gross national manifestations compelled
"_la Salle_" and her French dancers to leave London.[228] Handel gave up
the ballet opera. To leave at this moment, if he was to continue the
struggle with the theatre, went badly against the grain, and was
tantamount to declaring himself vanquished. At the opening of his
theatrical enterprise he had saved, so it is said, £10,000. All this was
absorbed, and already he was £10,000 more to the bad. His friends did
not understand his obstinacy, which seemed about to involve him in
complete ruin. "But," says Hawkins, "he was a man of intrepid spirit,
and in no ways a slave to mere interest. He raised himself again for the
battle rather than bow down to those whom he regarded as infinitely
beneath him." If he could no longer be conqueror, still less would he
hand the reins to his adversaries. He overcame them--but a little more
would have vanquished himself in the same stroke.

He persisted then in writing his operas,[229] of which the series spread
out until 1741, marking work after work with a growing tendency towards
the _opéra-comique_ and the style of romances[230] so dear to the
people at the second half of the eighteenth century. But since 1735 he
felt more than ever that the true musical drama for him was the
oratorio. He returned victoriously with _Alexander's Feast_, which was
composed on the _Ode to St. Cecilia_, by Dryden,[231] and given for the
first time on February 19, 1736, at the Covent Garden Theatre.

Who would have believed that this work, robust and sane throughout, was
written in twenty days, that it was performed in the midst of his
business worries, within an ace of ruin, and when he was threatened with
that grave malady which was to throw the mind of Handel for evermore
into gloom?

       *       *       *       *       *

For several years trouble pursued him. Work and excessive worry had
undermined an iron constitution. He tried the baths at Tunbridge Wells
during the summer of 1735, and probably also in 1736, but with no
success. He could not sleep. His theatre was always on his mind. He made
superhuman efforts to keep it going. From January, 1736, to April, 1737,
he directed two seasons of Opera, two seasons of oratorio, and composed
a song, an oratorio, a Psalm, and four operas.[232] On April 12, or 13,
1737, the machine broke down. He was smitten with paralysis, his right
side was attacked, his hand refused all service, and even his mind was
affected. In his absence his theatre closed its doors, bankrupt.[233]
During the whole of the summer Handel remained in a pitiful state of
depression. He refused to care for anything; all hope was lost. Finally,
his friends succeeded in inducing him, towards the end of August, to try
the baths at Aix-la-Chapelle. The cure had a miraculous effect. In a few
days he was restored. In October he returned to London, and immediately
the refreshed giant resumed the struggle, writing in three months two
operas, and the magnificent _Funeral Anthem_ on the death of the

Sad days were in store, however. His creditors seized him, and he was
threatened with imprisonment. Happily a sympathetic movement was
inaugurated in favour of the artist so harassed by his kind. A benefit
concert, to which his pride reluctantly submitted,[235] at the end of
March, 1738, had an unexpected success. It freed him from the most
pressing of his debts. In the following month a token of public
admiration was given him. His statue was erected in the Vauxhall
Gardens.[236] In the springtime of 1738 he began to feel, with returning
strength, confidence in the future. The horizon cleared. He was
encouraged by such faithful sympathy. He returned to life, and made his
presence felt again.

On July 23 he commenced _Saul_; on August 8 he had written two acts of
it; by September 27 the work was finished. On October 7 he began _Israel
in Egypt_; by October 28 the work was achieved. Still pushing
strenuously forward, on October 4 he launched the first volume of his
organ concertos with the publisher Walsh, and on the 7th he took to him
his _Seven Trios or Sonatas in two parts, with bass_, Opus 5. For those
who know these joyful works, which dominate like two Colossi the two
oratorios of victory, this superhuman effort had the effect of a force
of Nature, like a field which breaks into flower in a single night of

_Saul_ is a great epic drama, flowing and powerful, where the humorous
and the tragic intermingle. _Israel_ is one immense chorale, the most
gigantic effort which has ever been made in oratorio, not only with a
single but with combined choirs.[237] The audacious originality of the
conception and its austere grandeur almost stunned the public of his
day. The living Handel breathes throughout the work.

The hopes which Handel had founded on England caused him fresh
uneasiness. Times were hard. Since the winter of 1739, theatrical
performances, and even concerts, were suspended for several months on
account of the war, and the extreme cold. Handel, to keep himself warm,
wrote in eight days the little _Ode to St. Cecilia_ (November 29, 1739);
in sixteen days _L'Allegro_, _Il Penseroso_, _ed Il Moderato_ of Milton
(January-February, 1740); in a month the _Concerti Grossi_, Opus 6.[238]
But the success of these charming works, graven out with loving care,
into which Handel had perhaps put more than into any other his own
personal feelings, his poetic and humorous reproductions of nature,[239]
was hardly sufficient yet to establish his affairs, at one time so
embarrassed. Once more, as in the time of _Deborah_ and _Arianna_, he
was attacked by a coalition of fashionable people. One does not know
how Handel had wounded them,[240] but they were resolved on his
downfall. They avoided his concerts. They even paid men to pull down his
placards in the streets. Handel, tired and disheartened, suddenly threw
up the combat.[241] He decided to leave England, where he had lived for
nearly thirty years, and where he had increased his fame so much. He
announced his last concert for April 8, 1741.[242]

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a remarkable thing that often in the lives of the great men, just
at the moment when all seems lost, or things are at their lowest ebb,
they are nearest to the fulfilment of their destiny. Handel appeared
vanquished. Just at that very hour he wrote a work which was destined to
establish permanently his immortality.

He left London.[243] The Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland invited him to
Dublin to direct some concerts. Thus it was, so he said, "in order to
offer this generous and polished nation something new" that he composed
_The Messiah_ on a poem by his friend Jennens.[244] They had already
given many of his religious works in Dublin for charitable
concerts.[245] Handel was received enthusiastically. The letter which he
wrote on December 29 to Jennens bubbles over with joy. The time which he
passed in Dublin was, together with his early years in Italy, the
happiest in his life. From December 23, 1741, to April 7, 1742, he gave
two series of six concerts, and always with the same success. Finally,
on April 12, the first hearing of _The Messiah_ took place in Dublin.
The proceeds of the concert were devoted to charitable objects, and the
success was very considerable.[246]

Eight days after having finished The _Messiah_ (that is to say, before
he had yet arrived in Ireland) Handel had commenced _Samson_, which was
finished in five weeks, from the end of September to the end of October,
1741. However, he did not give it in Dublin. Doubtless he could not find
the interpreters which he desired for this colossal drama, rich in
choral scenes and in difficult _rôles_.[247] Perhaps also he reserved
the work for the following season in Dublin, when he hoped to return,
but the expected invitation which he awaited in London did not come, and
it was in London that _Samson_ reached its first hearing on February 18,

To this heroic oratorio, based on the sublime _Samson Agonistes_ of
Milton,[248] succeeded a light opera, which bore, nevertheless, the name
of oratorio, the libretto of which was based on a poem by Congreve:
_Semele_ (June 3 to July 4, 1743). It afforded a relief for him between
these two Herculean works. In the same month in which he finished
_Semele_, Handel wrote his monumental _Dettingen Te Deum_, to celebrate
the victory of the Duke of Cumberland over the French.[249] _Joseph_,
written in August and September of the same year, on a very touching
poem by James Miller, reveals a sweet yet melancholy fancy, a little
insipid, on which, however, the strong portrait of Simeon projects
itself forcibly.

1744 was one of Handel's most glorious years from the creative point of
view, but one of the most miserable in outward success. He wrote nearly
simultaneously his two most tragic oratorios, the great Shakespearian
drama of _Belshazzar_ (July-October, 1744), the rich poem of which was
furnished for him by his friend Jennens;[250] and the sublime tragedy of
the ancient _Hercules_, a musical drama,[251] which marks the
culmination of the Handelian musical drama, and indeed one might say of
the whole musical theatre before Gluck.

Never was the hostility of the English public more roused against him.
The same hateful cabal which had already thrice threatened to bring
about his downfall again rose against him. They invited the fashionable
world in London to their _fêtes_, specially organised on the days when
the performances of his oratorios were to have taken place, with the
object of robbing him of his audience. Bolingbroke and Smollett both
speak of the plots of certain ladies to ruin Handel. Horace Walpole says
that it was the fashion to go to the Italian Opera when Handel directed
his oratorio concerts. Handel, whose force of energy and genius had
weakened since his first failure of 1735, was involved afresh in
bankruptcy at the beginning of 1745. His griefs and troubles, and the
prodigious expenditure of force which he made, seemed again on the point
of turning his brain. He fell into extreme bodily prostration and
lowness of spirit, similar to that of 1737, and this lasted for the
space of eight months, from March to October, 1745.[252] By a miracle he
was able to rise out of this abyss, and by unforeseen events, where
music was his only aid, he became more popular than he ever was before.

The Pretender, Charles Edward, landed in Scotland; the country rose up.
An army of Highlanders marched on London. The city was in consternation.
A great national movement arose in England, Handel associated himself
with it. On November 14, 1745, he brought to light at Drury Lane his
_Song made for the Gentlemen Volunteers of the City of London_,[253]
and he wrote two oratorios, which were, so to speak, immense national
hymns: the _Occasional Oratorio_,[254] where Handel called the English
to rise up against invasion, and _Judas Maccabæus_[255] (July 9 to
August 11, 1746), the Hymn of Victory, written after the rout of the
rebels at Culloden Moor, and for the _fête_ on the return of the
conqueror, the ferocious Duke of Cumberland, to whom the poem was

These two patriotic oratorios, where Handel's heart beat with that of
England, and of which the second, _Judas Maccabæus_, has retained even
to our own day its great popularity, thanks to its broad style and the
spirit which animates it,[256] brought more fortune to Handel than all
the rest of his works together. After thirty-five years of continuous
struggle, plot and counterplot, he had at last obtained a decisive
victory. He became by the force of events _the national musician of

       *       *       *       *       *

Freed from material cares, which had embittered his life,[257] Handel
took up the work of his composition again, with more tranquillity, and
in the following years came many of his happiest works. _Alexander
Balus_ (June 1 to July 4, 1747)[258] is, like _Semele_, a concert opera,
well developed; the orchestration being exceptionally rich and subtle.
_Joshua_ (July 30 to August 18, 1747)[259] is a somewhat pale _replica_
of _Judas Maccabæus_. A gentle love idyll blossoms amidst the pompous
choruses. _Solomon_ (June, 1748)[260] is a musical festival, radiating
poetry and gladness. _Susanna_ (July 11, 1724, to August, 1748), grave
and gay by turns, realistic yet lyric, is a hybrid kind of work, but
very original.

Finally, in the spring of 1749, which marks, so it seems, the end of
Handel's good fortune, he wrote his brilliant Firework Music--a model
for popular open-air _fêtes_--produced on April 27, 1749, by a monster
orchestra of trumpets, horns, oboes, and bassoons, without stringed
instruments, on the occasion of the Firework display given in Green Park
to celebrate the Peace of Aix la Chapelle.[261]

More solemn works followed these gay pieces. At this moment of his life
the spirit of melancholy raised its grey head before the robust old man,
who seemed to be obsessed by the presentiment of some coming ill

On May 27, 1749, he conducted at the Foundling Hospital[262] for the
benefit of waifs and strays, his beautiful _Anthem for the Foundling
Hospital_,[263] which was inspired by his great pity for these little
unfortunates. From June 28 to July 31 he wrote a pure masterpiece,
_Theodora_, his most intimate musical tragedy, his only Christian
tragedy besides _The Messiah_[264]. From the end of that same year dates
also his music for a scene from Tobias Smollett's Alceste, which was
never played, and from which Handel took the essential parts for his
_Choice of Hercules_.[265] A little time after he made his last voyage
to Halle. He arrived on German soil at the moment when Bach died, July
28, 1750. Indeed he nearly ended his life there himself in the same week
by a carriage accident.[266]

He recovered quickly, and on January 21, 1751, when he commenced the
score of _Jephtha_, he appeared to be in robust health, despite his
sixty-six years. He wrote the first act at a stretch in thirteen days.
In eleven days more he had arrived at the last scene but one of Act II.
Here he had to break off. Already in the preceding pages he only
progressed with difficulty; his writing, so clear and firm at the
commencement, became sticky, confused, and trembling.[267] He had
started on the final chorus of Act II: "How dark, O Lord, are Thy Ways."
Hardly had he written the opening _Largo_ than he had to stop working.
He wrote:

"_I reached here on Wednesday, February 13, had to discontinue on
account of the sight of my left eye._"[268]

The work was broken off for ten days. On February 23 (which was his
birthday) he wrote in:

"_Feel a little better. Resumed work_";

and he wrote the music to those foreboding words:

"_Grief follows joy as night the day._"

He took hardly five days to finish this chorus, which is really sublime.
He stopped then for four months.[269] On June 18 he resumed the third
act. He was again interrupted in the middle.[270] The last four airs and
the final chorus took more time than a whole oratorio usually occupied.
He did not finish it until August 30, 1751. His sight was then gone.

       *       *       *       *       *

After that, all was ended. Handel's eyes were closed for ever.[271] The
sun was blotted out, "_Total eclipse_...." The world was effaced.

He had never suffered so much as in the first year of his illness, when
he was not yet completely blind. In 1752 he was unable to play the organ
at the productions of his oratorios, and the public, moved by sympathy,
saw him tremble and blanch in listening to the admirable complaint of
his blind Samson. But in 1753, when the evil was incurable, Handel
regained his self-possession. He played the organ again at the twelve
performances of oratorios which he gave each year in Lent, and he kept
up this custom until his death.

But with his vanished sight he had lost the best source of his
inspiration. This man, who was neither an intellectual nor a mystic, one
who loved above all things light and nature, beautiful pictures, and the
spectacular view of things, who lived more through his eyes than most of
the German musicians, was engulfed in deepest night. From 1752 to 1759
he was overtaken by the semi-consciousness which precedes death. He only
wrote in 1758 a duet and chorus for _Judas Maccabæus_, "Zion now her
head shall raise," and reviving in that the happy times of other days he
took up a work of his youth, the _Trionfo del Tempo_,[272] which he now
gave in a new version in March, 1757: _The Triumph of Time and


(_In the "Poets' Corner."_)]

On April 6, 1759, he again took the organ at a production of _The
Messiah_. His powers failed him in the middle of a movement. He soon
recovered himself and improvised (it is said) with his habitual
grandeur. Returned home he took to bed. On April 11 he added a last
codicil to his will,[274] bequeathing munificently £1000 sterling to
the Society for the Maintenance of Poor Musicians, and expressing, with
tranquillity, his desire of being buried in Westminster Abbey. He said:
"I want to die on Good Friday in the hope of rejoining the good God, my
sweet Lord and Saviour, on the day of his Resurrection." His wish was
accomplished. On Holy Saturday, April 14, at eight in the morning, the
sweet singer of _The Messiah_ slept with his Lord.

       *       *       *       *       *

His glory spread after his death. On April 20 he was interred in
Westminster Abbey, as he had requested.[275] The annual performances of
his oratorios continued in Lent under the direction of his friend,
Christopher Smith. Popular performances of them were soon given. The
great festival of his Commemoration celebrated at Westminster Abbey and
in the Pantheon, from May 26 to June 5, 1784, for the centenary of his
birth,[276] was observed all over Europe. New festivals took place in
London in 1785, 1786, 1787, 1790, and 1791. On the last occasion more
than a thousand executants[277] took part. Haydn was present, and he
said, through his tears, "He is master of us all."

The English performances attracted the attention of Germany. Two years
after the Commemoration, Johann Adam Hiller produced _The Messiah_ in
the Cathedral Church at Berlin, then at Leipzig, and then at Breslau.
Three years later, in 1789, Mozart made his arrangements of _The
Messiah_, of _Acis and Galatea_, of the _Ode to St. Cecilia_, and of
_Alexander's Feast_.[278] The first complete edition of Handel was
commenced in 1786. A strong feeling of emulation made itself felt in
Germany to imitate the English festivals, and to restore choral singing,
and to found the _Singakademien_ for the preservation of the national
glories.[279] The rendering of Handel's oratorios inspired Haydn to
write _The Creation_. Beethoven at the end of his life said of Handel:
"See there is the truth."[280] Poets also vied equally in rendering him
homage. Goethe admired him, and Herder devoted a chapter to him in his
_Adrastea_ of 1802. The wars of Independence gave an access of favour to
the oratorio of freedom, to _Judas Maccabæus_.

With romanticism the feeling for the genius of Handel was lost. Berlioz,
who, if he had but known him truly, and had found a model for that grand
popular style which he sought, never understood him. Of all other
musicians, those who approached to the spirit of Handel nearest were
Schumann and Liszt,[281] but they were exceptional in the lucidity of
their perception, and their generous sympathies. It might be said that
Handel's art, distorted by the editions and false renderings--quite as
much those in Germany as the ridiculously colossal representations in
England--would have been completely lost except for the foundation in
1856 of the Handel Society, which devoted itself to the object of
publishing an exact and complete edition of the works of the master.
Gervinus was the promoter and Friedrich Chrysander alone accomplished
the task. It did not aim at being a critical edition of his works. His
ardent apostle sought simply to revive them in their pristine
force.[282] He was seconded by the choral societies of north Germany,
particularly by the Berlin _Singakademien_, which from 1830 to 1860
never ceased to perform all the oratorios of Handel. On the contrary,
Austria remained a long way behind. In 1873, Brahms conducted the first
production of _Saul_ in Vienna, but the veritable awakening of Handel's
art in Germany only dates back about half a score years. One recognized
his grandeur, and did not doubt that he had lived. It was chiefly (so it
seems) at the first Handel Festival of Mayence in 1895, where _Hercules
and Deborah_ were given, that his astounding dramatic genius was first
truly felt there.

To us in France we still await the full revelation of the living scenes
of this great and luminous tragic art, so akin to the aims of Ancient


No great musician is more impossible to include in the limits of one
definition, or even of several, than Handel. It is a fact that he
reached the complete mastery of his style very early (much earlier than
J. S. Bach), although it was never really fixed, and he never devoted
himself to any one form of art. It is even difficult to see a conscious
and a logical evolution in him. His genius is not of the kind which
follows a single path, and forges right ahead until it reaches its
object. For his aim is none other than to do well whatever he undertook.
All ways are good to him--from his early steps at the crossing of the
ways, he dominated the country, and shed his light on all sides, without
laying siege to any particular part. He is not one of those who impose
on life and art a voluntary idealism, either violent or patient; nor is
he one of those who inscribe in the book of life the formula of their
campaign. He is of the kind who drink in the life universal,
assimilating it to themselves. His artistic will is mainly objective.
His genius adapts itself to a thousand images of passing events, to the
nation, to the times in which he lived, even to the fashions of his day.
It accommodates itself to the various influences, ignoring all
obstacles. It weighs other styles and other thoughts, but such is the
power of assimilation and the prevailing equilibrium of his nature that
he never feels submerged and overweighted by the mass of these strange
elements. Everything is duly absorbed, controlled, and classified. This
immense soul is like the sea itself, into which all the rivers of the
world pour themselves without troubling its serenity.

The German geniuses have often had this power of absorbing thoughts and
strange forms,[284] but it is excessively rare to find amongst them the
grand objectivism, and this superior impersonality, which is, so to
speak, the hall-mark of Handel. Their sentimental lyricism is better
fitted to sing songs, to voice the thoughts of the universe in song,
than to paint the universe in living forms and vital rhythms. Handel is
very different, and approaches much more nearly than any other in
Germany the genius of the South, the Homeric genius of which Goethe
received the sudden revelation on his arrival at Naples.[285] This
capacious mind looks out on the whole universe, and on the way the
universe depicts itself, as a picture is reflected in calm and clear
water. He owes much of this objectivism to Italy, where he spent many
years, and the fascination of which never effaced itself from his mind,
and he owes even more to that, sturdy England, which guards its emotions
with so tight a rein, and which eschews those sentimental and
effervescing effusions, so often displayed in the pious German art; but
that he had all the germs of his art in himself, is already shown in his
early works at Hamburg.

From his infancy at Halle, Zachau had trained him not in one style, but
in all the styles of the different nations, leading him to understand
not only the spirit of each great composer, but to assimilate the styles
by writing in various manners. This education, essentially cosmopolitan,
was completed by his three tours in Italy, and his sojourn of half a
century in England. Above all he never ceased to follow up the lessons
learnt at Halle, always appropriating to himself the best from all
artists and their works. If he was never in France (it is not absolutely
proved), he knew her nevertheless. He was anxious to master their
language and musical style. We have proofs of that in his
manuscripts,[286] and in the accusations made against him by certain
French critics.[287] Wherever he passed, he gathered some musical
souvenir, buying and collecting foreign works, copying them, or rather
(for he had not the careful patience of J. S. Bach, who scrupulously
wrote out in his own hand the entire scores of the French organists and
the Italian violinists) copying down in hasty and often inexact
expressions any idea which struck him in the course of his reading. This
vast collection of European thoughts, which only remains in remnants at
the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge, was the reservoir, so to speak,
from which his creative genius continually fed itself. Profoundly German
in race and character, he had become a world citizen, like his
compatriot Leibnitz, whom he had known at Hanover, a European with a
tendency for the Latin culture. The great Germans at the end of that
century, Goethe and Herder, were never more free, or more universal,
than this great Saxon in music, saturated as he was with all the
artistic thoughts of the West.

He drew not only from the sources of learned and refined music--the
music of musicians; but also drank deeply from the founts of popular
music--that of the most simple and rustic folk.[288] He loved the
latter. One finds noted down in his manuscripts the street cries of
London, and he once told a friend that he received many inspirations for
his best airs from them.[289] Certain of his oratorios, like _L'Allegro
ed Il Penseroso_, are threaded with remembrances of his walks in the
English country, and who can ignore the _Pifferari_ (Italian peasant's
pipe) in _The Messiah_, the Flemish carillon in _Saul_, the joyous
popular Italian songs in _Hercules_, and in _Alexander Balus_? Handel
was not an artist lost in introspection. He watched all around him, he
listened, and observed. Sight was for him a source of inspiration,
hardly of less importance than hearing. I do not know any great German
musician who has been as much a visual as Handel. Like Hasse and
Corelli, he had a veritable passion for beautiful pictures. He hardly
ever went out without going to a theatre or to a picture sale. He was a
connoisseur, and he made a collection, in which some Rembrandts[290]
were found after his death. It has been remarked that his blindness
(which should have rendered his hearing still more sensitive, his
creative powers translating everything into sonorous dreams) soon
paralysed his hearing when its principal source of renewal was

Thus, saturated in all the European music of his time, impregnated with
the music of musicians, and the still richer music which flows in all
Nature herself, which is specially diffused in the vibrations of light
and shade, that song of the rivers, of the forest, of the birds, in
which all his works abound, and which have inspired some of his most
picturesque pages with a semi-romantic colour,[291] he wrote as one
speaks, he composed as one breathes. He never sketched out on paper in
order to prepare his definite work. He wrote straight off as he
improvised, and in truth he seems to have been the greatest improviser
that ever was. Whether extemporising on the organ at the midday services
in St. Paul's Cathedral, or playing the _capriccios_ during the
_entr'actes_ of his oratorios at Covent Garden--or improvising on the
clavier in the orchestra at the opera, at Hamburg or in London, or "when
he accompanied the singers in a most marvellous fashion, adapting
himself to their temperament and virtuosity, without having any written
notes," he astounded the connoisseurs of his time; and Mattheson, who
may hardly be suspected of any indulgence towards him, proclaimed that
he had no equal in this. One can truly say that "he improvised every
minute of his life." He wrote his music with such an impetuosity of
feeling, and such a wealth of ideas, that his hand was constantly
lagging behind his thoughts, and in order to keep pace with them at all
he had to note them down in an abbreviated manner.[292] But (and this
seems contradictory) he had at the same time an exquisite sense of form.
No German surpassed him in the art of writing beautiful, melodic lines.
Mozart and Hasse alone were his equals in this. It was to this love of
perfection that we attribute that habit which, despite his fertility of
invention, causes him to use time after time, the same phrases (those
most important, and dearest to him) each time introducing an
imperceptible change, a light stroke of the pencil, which renders them
more perfect. The examination of these kinds of musical _eaux-fortes_ in
their successive states is very instructive for the musician who is
interested in plastic beauty.[293] It shows also how certain melodies,
once written down, continued to slumber in Handel's mind for many years,
until they had penetrated his subconscious nature, were applied at
first, by following the chances of his inspiration, to a certain
situation, which suited them moderately well. They are, so to speak, in
search of a body where they can reincarnate themselves, seeking the true
situation, the real sentiment of which they are but the latent
expression; and once having found it, they expand themselves with

Handel worked no less with the music of other composers than with his
own. If one had the time to study here what superficial readers have
called his plagiarisms, particularly taking, for example, _Israel in
Egypt_, where the most barefaced of these cases occur, one would see
with what genius and insight Handel has evoked from the very depths of
these musical phrases, their secret soul, of which the first creators
had not even a presentiment. It needed his eye, or his ear, to discover
in the serenade of Stradella its Biblical cataclysms. Each read and
heard a work of art as it is, and yet not as it is; and one may conclude
that it is not always the creator himself who has the most fertile idea
of it. The example of Handel well proves this. Not only did he create
music, but very often he created that of others for them. Stradella and
Erba were only for him (however humiliating the comparison) the flames
of fire, and the cracks in the wall, through which Leonardo saw the
living figures. Handel heard great storms passing through the gentle
quivering of Stradella's guitar.[295]

This evocatory character of Handel's genius should never be forgotten.
He who is satisfied with listening to this music without _seeing_ what
it expresses--who judges this art as a purely formal art, who does not
feel his expressive and suggestive power, occasionally so far as
hallucination, will never understand it. It is a music which paints
emotions, souls, and situations, to see the epochs and the places, which
are the framework of the emotions, and which tint them with their own
peculiar moral tone. In a word, his is an art essentially picturesque
and dramatic. It is scarcely twenty to thirty years since the key to it
was found in Germany, thanks to the Handel Musical Festivals. As Heuss
says, concerning a recent performance at Leipzig, "For a proper
comprehension no master more than Handel has greater need of being
performed, and _well_ performed. One can study J. S. Bach at home, and
enjoy it even more than at a good concert, but he who has never heard
Handel well performed can with difficulty imagine what he really is, for
really good performances of Handel are excessively rare." The intimate
sense of his works was falsified in the century which followed his death
by the English interpretations, strengthened further still in Germany by
those of Mendelssohn, and his numerous following. By the exclusion of
and systematic contempt for all the operas of Handel, by an elimination
of nearly all the dramatic oratorios, the most powerful and the
freshest, by a narrow choice more and more restrained to the four or
five oratorios, and even here, by giving an exaggerated supremacy to
_The Messiah_, by the interpretation finally of these works, and notably
of _The Messiah_ in a pompous, rigid, and stolid manner, with an
orchestra and choir far too numerous and badly balanced, with singers
frightfully correct and pious, without any feeling or intimacy, there
has been established that tradition which makes Handel a church
musician after the style of Louis XIV, all decoration--pompous columns,
noble and cold statues, and pictures by Le Brun. It is not surprising
that this has reduced works executed on such principles, and degraded
them to a monumental tiresomeness similar to that which emanates from
the bewigged Alexanders, and the very conventional Christs of Le Brun.

It is necessary to turn back. Handel was never a church musician, and he
hardly ever wrote for the church. Apart from his _Psalms_ and his _Te
Deum_, composed for the private chapels, and for exceptional events, he
only wrote instrumental music for concerts and for open-air _fêtes_, for
operas, and for those so-called oratorios, which were really written for
the theatre. The first oratorios he composed were really acted: _Acis
and Galatea_ in May, 1732, at the Haymarket Theatre, with scenery,
decoration, and costumes, under the title of _English Pastoral
Opera--Esther_, in February, 1732, at the Academy of Ancient Music after
the manner of the Grecian tragedy, the chorus being placed behind the
stage and the orchestra. And if Handel resolutely abstained from
theatrical representation[296]--which alone gives the full value to
certain scenes, such as the orgie and the dream of Belshazzar, expressly
conceived for acting--on the other hand he stood out firmly for having
his oratorios at the theatre and not in the church. There were not
wanting churches any less than dissenting chapels in which he could give
his works, and by not doing so he turned against him the opinion of
religious people who considered it sacrilegious to carry pious subjects
on to the stage,[297] but he continued to affirm that he did not write
compositions for the church, but worked for the theatre--a free

This briefly dramatic character of Handel's works has been well
comprehended by the German historians who have studied him during recent
times. Chrysander compares him to Shakespeare,[299] Kretzschmar calls
him the reformer of musical drama, Volbach and A. Heuss see in him a
dramatic musician, and claim for the performance of his oratorios
dramatic singers. Richard Strauss, in his introduction to Berlioz's
_Treatise of Orchestration_, opposes the great polyphonic and symphonic
stream issuing from J. S. Bach with that homophonic and dramatic one
which comes from Handel. We hope that the readers of this little book
have found here in nearly all these pages a confirmation of these ideas.

       *       *       *       *       *

It remains for us, after having attempted to indicate the general
characteristics of Handel's art, to sketch the technique of the
different styles in which he worked.

To speak truly, it is difficult to speak of the opera or of the oratorio
of Handel. It is necessary to say: _of the operas or of the oratorios_,
for we do not find that they point back to any single type. We can
verify here what we said at the commencement of this chapter, about the
magnificent vitality of Handel in choosing amongst his art forms the
different directions of the music of his times.

All the European tendencies at that time are reflected in his operas:
the model of Keiser in his early works, the Venetian model in his
_Agrippina_, the model of Scarlatti and Steffani in his first early
operas; in the London works he soon introduces English influences,
particularly in the rhythms. Then it was Bononcini whom he rivalled.
Again, those great attempts of genius to create a new musical drama,
_Giulio Cesare_, _Tamerlano_, _Orlando_; later on, those charming
ballet-operas inspired by France, _Ariodante_, _Alcina_; later still,
those operas which point towards the _opéra comique_ and the light style
of the second half of the century, _Serse Deidamia_.... Handel continued
to try every other style, without making any permanent choice as did
Gluck, with whom alone he can be compared.

Without doubt (and it is his greatest fault in the theatre) he was
constrained by the conventions of the Italian Opera at tunes and by the
composition of his troupe of singers to overlook his choruses, and to
write operas for solo voices, of which the principal _rôles_ were cast
for the Prima Donna and for the contralto,[300] but whenever he could,
he wrote his operas with choruses, like _Ariodante_, _Alcina_, and he
only owed it to himself that he did not give to the tenor or to the bass
their place in the concert of voices.[301] If it was not possible to
break the uniformity of the solo voices by the addition of choruses,
still he enlivened these solos by the flexibility and the variety of his
instrumental accompaniments. Such of his most celebrated airs, as the
Garden scene in _Rinaldo_, "_Augelletti che cantate_," are only in truth
an orchestral tone picture. The voice mingles itself only as an
instrument,[302] and with what art Handel always decides his melodies in
disengaging the beautiful lines, drawing all the parts possible in pure
tone colours from single instruments, and from the voice isolated,--then
united,--and what of his silences!

The appeal of his melodies is much more varied than one usually
believes. If the _Da Capo_ form abounds in his works,[303] it is
necessary to admit that it was practically the only one of that period.
In _Almira_, Handel uses the form of a little strophic song, very
happily. For this, Keiser supplied him with models, and he never
renounces the use of these little melodies, so simple and touching,
almost bare, which speak direct to the soul. He seems to return to them
even with special predilection in his last operas, _Atalanta_,
_Giustina_, _Serse_, _Deidamia_.[304] He gives also to Hasse and to
Graun the model of his six cavatinas, airs in two parts,[305] which they
later on brought into prominence. We find his dramatic airs also have
the second part and the repeat.[306]

Even in the _Da Capo_, however, he gives us a variety of forms! Not only
does Handel use all styles, but how well does he blend the voices with
the instruments in those airs of great brilliance and free
virtuosity![307] With what predilection does he ply all these beautiful
and learned contrapuntal tissues, as in the _Cara sposa_ from _Rinaldo_
or the _Ombra cara_ from _Radamisto_; but he ever seeks new combinations
for the old form. He was one of the first to adopt the little Airs _da
capo_, which with Bononcini seems to have been so much the fashion at
the commencement of the eighteenth century, and of which _Agrippina_ and
_Ottone_ furnish such delightful examples.[308] To the second part of
the air he gave a different character and movement from that of the
first part.[309] Still further, in either of the parts several
movements were combined.[310] Sometimes the second part was
recitative,[311] or it was extremely condensed.[312] When Handel had
choruses at his disposal in his oratorios, he often entrusted the _Da
Capo_ to the Chorus.[313] He went further: in _Samson_, after Micah has
sung in the second act the first two parts of the air "Return, O God of
Hosts," the chorus takes up the second part at the same time as Micah
returns to the first part. Finally he attempts to divide the _Da Capo_
between two characters, thus in the second act of _Saul_, Jonathan's
solo "Sin not, O King, against the youth," is followed by Saul's solo,
then appearing note for note.

But the most glorious feat of Handel in vocal solos is the "recitative

It was Keiser who taught him the art of those moving _recitative-ariosi_
with orchestra, which he had already used in _Almira_, and of which,
later on, J. S. Bach was to take from him the style. He never ceased to
employ it in his London operas, and he gave the form a superb amplitude.
They are not merely isolated recitatives or preambles to an extended
solo.[314] The story of Cæsar in the third act of _Giulio Cesare,
Dall'ondoso periglio_ is one large musical picture, which expresses in
its frame a symphonic prelude, a recitative, the two first parts of an
air over the symphonic accompaniment of the opening, a second
recitative, then the _Da Capo_. The scene of Bajazet's death in the last
act of _Tamerlano_ is composed of a series of recitatives with
orchestra, and of airs joined together, and passes through all the
nuances of feeling, forming from one stage to the other a veritable
ladder of life. The scene of Admetes' agony at the opening of the opera
of the same name equals in profundity, emotion, and dramatic liberty,
the finest recitative scenes of Gluck. The "mad scene" in
_Orlando_,[315] and that of Dejanira's despair in the third act of
_Hercules_, surpasses them in boldness of realism, and frenetic passion.
In the first, burlesque and tragic elements commingle with a truly
Shakespearean art. The second is a mighty foaming river, raging with
fury and grief. Neither of these two scenes have any analogy in the
whole of the musical theatre of the eighteenth century. And _Teseo_,
_Rodelinda_, _Alessandro_, _Alcina_, _Semele_, _Joseph_, _Alexander
Balus_, _Jephtha_, all present recitative scenes, or combinations in the
same scene of recitatives and very free airs, with instrumental
interludes, no less original. Finally a sort of presentiment of the
_leit-motiv_, and its psychological employment in _Belshazzar_, should
be noticed, where certain instrumental phrases and recitatives seem
attached to the character of Nitocris.[316]

       *       *       *       *       *

The study of Handel's recitatives and airs raises perhaps the greatest
problem of artistic interpretation--that of vocal ornamentation.

We know that Handelian singers used to decorate his melodies with graces
and melismatic figures, and cadenzas (often very considerable) which
have disappeared for the greater part. Chrysander, in editing Handel's
works, found them given as alternatives, and either suppressed them
(those which were false to the historic sense of the text) or else
rewrote them himself. It was in this last point that he stopped short of
all possible guarantees of exactness, or at least of true resemblance.
But his revisions found few supporters, and a discussion on his
treatment of this subject has been recently raised amongst German
musical writers.[317] This debate, the examination of which cannot be
entered into in this volume, authorised, it seems, the following

     (1) The vocal ornaments were not improvised and left to the fancy
     of the singer, as is often asserted, but they were marked with
     precise indications in the singer's parts, and also in the score of
     the accompanying clavecinist:[318]

     (2) They were not mere caprices of empty virtuosity but the result
     of a reflective virtuosity, and subject to the general style of the
     piece. They served to accentuate more deeply the expression of the
     principal melodic lines.[319]

Yet what would be the advantage of restoring these ornaments? Our taste
has changed since then, and a stricter reverence forbids us to risk
tampering with works of the past by following slavishly such details of
tradition and habit which have become meaningless and old-fashioned. Is
it better to impose on the public of to-day the older works with all
their marks of age improved away by the learning of later
generations--or to adapt them soberly in the manner of true feeling, so
as to enable them to continue to exercise on us their elevating power?
Both sides have been well supported.[320] For myself I consider the
first proposition bears on the publication of the scores, and the second
on the musical renderings. The mind ought to seek and find out exactly
what used to be the case, but when this is done the living are justified
in claiming their rights, and by being allowed to reject ancient usages,
only preserving such as render these works of genius truly vital.

       *       *       *       *       *

The vocal ensemble pieces hold a much humbler place in Italian Opera,
and Handel has made fewer innovations on this ground than in the vocal
solo. However, one finds some very interesting experiments here. His
duets are often written in an imitative style, serious and rather sad,
in the old Italian school of Provenzale and Steffani,[321] or in the
Lully style, where the two voices mingle together note by note with
exactitude.[322] But _Atalanta_ and _Poro_ furnish us also with duets of
an alluring freedom and uncommon artistry. And in the duet in the third
act of _Orlando_, Handel attempts to differentiate the characters of the
weeping Angelica and the furious Roland.--Similarly with the trios
written in the strict style of imitation, like that in _Alcina_, Act
III, the trio in _Acis and Galatea_ carefully defines the couple of
lovers from the colossal figure of Polyphemus, the trio in _Tamerlano_
contrasts the exasperated Tamerlano with Bajazet and with Asteria, who
aggravated him, and the trio in the judgment of Solomon distinguishes
the three diverse characters: the calm power of Solomon, the aggressive
cries of the wicked mother, and the sorrowful supplications of the good
mother. The trio from _Susanna_ is no less free, but in the humorous
style: one of the two old men madrigalises whilst the other menaces. The
_ensemble_ forms altogether a most vivid little scene which Mozart
himself would not have disowned.[323] Quartets are rare. There are two
little ones in the _Triumph of Time_, written in Rome. In _Radamisto_
Handel made the attempt at a dramatic quartet, but rather clumsily, and
with repeated _Da Capo_.[324] The most moving quartet is found in the
second act of _Jephtha_. It is in _Jephtha_ also, Act III, where the
only quintet which he wrote is to be found.

The choruses in the Italian opera of the eighteenth century[325] were
reduced to a rudimentary stage, and they consist merely of the union of
the voices of soloists at the end of a piece, with certain banal and
brilliant acclamations during the course of the action. Notwithstanding
this, Handel wrote some stronger ones in _Alcina_; those of _Giulio
Cesare_, _Ariodante_, and _Atalanta_, were also exceptional in the
operas of his time. So with the final choruses Handel arranged after a
fashion to escape from the current banality: that of _Tamerlano_ is
written in a melancholy dramatic vein; that of _Orlando_ strives to
preserve the individual character of their personality; that of _Giulio
Cesare_ is tacked on to a duet. There are also choruses of people; the
Matelots in _Giustino_; that of the hunters in _Deidamia_, where the
choruses take up the refrain from the air announced by the solo voice.
It is the same in _Alessandro_, where the soldiers' chorus repeats
Alessandro's hymn, slightly curtailed.

Finally, Handel frequently attempted to build up great musical
architecture, raising it by successive stages from solos to ensemble
pieces, and then to choruses. At the end of the first act of
_Ariodante_, a duet (gavotte style) is taken up by the chorus, then
danced without voices; finally sung and danced. The close of Act III
from the same opera gives us a chain of processions, dances, and
choruses. The final scenes of _Alessandro_ constitute a veritable opera
_finale_, 2 duets and a trio running into a chorus.

But it is in his oratorios that Handel attempted these ensemble vocal
combinations on the larger scale, and principally that mixture of
movements where the powerful contrasts of soli and chorus are grouped
together in the same picture.

One sees what a variety of forms and styles he used. Handel was too
universal and too objective to believe that one kind of art only was the
true one. He believed in two kinds of music only, the good and the bad.
Apart from that he appreciated all styles. Thus he has left masterpieces
in every style, but he did not open any new way in opera for the simple
reason that he went a long way in nearly all paths already opened up.
Constantly he experimented, invented, and always with his singularly
sure touch. He seemed to have an extraordinary penetrating knowledge in
invention, and consequently few artistic regions remained for him to
conquer. He made as masterly a use of the recitative as Gluck, or of the
_arioso_ as Mozart, writing the acts of _Tamerlano_, which are the
closest and most heartrending dramas, in the manner of _Iphigénie en
Tauride_, the most moving and passionate scenes in music such as certain
pages of _Admeto_ and _Orlando_, where the humorous and tragic are
intermingled in the manner of _Don Giovanni_. He has experimented very
happily here in new rhythms.[326] There were new forms, the dramatic
duet or quartet, the descriptive symphony opening the opera,[327]
refined orchestration,[328] choruses and dances.[329] Nothing seems to
have obsessed him. In the following opera we find him returning to the
ordinary forms of the Italian or German opera of his time.

       *       *       *       *       *

Still less can we say that he held to a rigid form with his operas,
which were continually adapted to the changing tastes of the theatre
public of his age, and of the singers which he had at his disposal, but
when he left the opera for the oratorio he varied no less. It was a
perpetual experiment of new forms in the vast framework of the free
theatre (_theatre en liberté_) of the concert drama; and the sort of
instinctive ebb and flow in creation seems to have caused his works to
succeed one another in groups of analogous or related compositions, each
work in a nearly opposite style of feeling and form. In each one Handel
indulged momentarily in a certain side of his feelings, and when that
was finished he found himself in the possession of other feelings which
had been accumulating whilst he was drawing on his first. He thus kept
up a perpetual balance, which is like the pulsation of life itself.
After the realistic _Saul_ comes the impersonal epic of _Israel in
Egypt_. After this colossal monument appear the two little _genre_
pictures, _The Ode to Cecilia_ and _L'Allegro ed Penseroso_. After the
Herculean _Samson_, an heroic and popular tragic comedy sprang forth,
the charming flower of _Semele_, an opera of romanticism and gallantry.

But if the oratorios are so wonderfully varied they have one
characteristic in common even more than the operas, they are musical
dramas. It was not that religious thought turned Handel to this choice
of Biblical subjects, but as Kretzschmar has well shown, it was on
account of the stories of the Bible heroes being a part of the very
life-blood of the people whom he addressed. They were known to all,
whilst the ancient romantic stories could only interest a society of
refined and spoilt _dilettanti_. Without doubt, these oratorios were not
made for representation, did not seek scenic effects, with rare
exceptions, as for instance the scene of the orgy of _Belshazzar_, where
one feels that Handel had drawn on the direct vision of theatrical
representation, but passions, spirits, and personalities were
represented always in a dramatic fashion. Handel is a great painter of
characters, and the Delilah in _Samson_, the Nitocris in _Belshazzar_,
the Cleopatra in _Alexander Balus_, the mother in _Solomon_, the
Dejanira in _Hercules_, the beautiful Theodora, all bear witness to the
suppleness and the profundity of his psychological genius. If in the
course of the action, and the depicting of the ordinary sentiments, he
abandoned himself freely to the flow of pure music, in the moments of
passionate crises he is the equal of the greatest masters in musical
drama. Is it necessary to mention the terrible scenes in the third act
of _Hercules_, the beautiful scenes of _Alexander Balus_, the Dream of
_Belshazzar_, the scenes of _Juno_ and the death of _Semele_, the
recognition of Joseph and his brothers, the destruction of the temple in
Samson, the second act of _Jephtha_, the prison scenes in _Theodora_, or
in the first act of _Saul_, and dominating all, like great pictures,
certain of the choruses in _Israel in Egypt_, in _Esther_, and in
_Joshua_, and in the _Chandos Anthems_, which seem veritable tempests of
passion, great upheavals of overpowering effect? It is by these choruses
that the oratorio is essentially distinguished from the opera. It is in
the first place a choral tragedy. These choruses, which are nearly
eliminated in Italian Opera during the time of the Barberini, held a
very important place in French Opera, but their _rôle_ was limited to
that of commentator or else merely decorative. In the oratorio of Handel
they became the very life and soul of the work. Sometimes they took the
part of the ancient classical chorus, which exposed the thought of the
drama when the hidden fates led on the heroes to their destinies--as in
_Saul_, _Hercules_, _Alexander Balus_, _Susanna_. Sometimes they added
to the shock of human passions the powerful appeal of religion, and
crowned the human drama with a supernatural aureole, as in _Theodora_
and _Jephtha_. Or finally they became the actual actors themselves, or
the enemy-people and the God who guided them. It is remarkable that in
his very first oratorio _Esther_, Handel had this stroke of genius. In
the choruses there we see the drama of an oppressed people and their God
who led them by his voice superbly depicted. In _Deborah_ and _Athaliah_
also, two nations are in evidence. In _Belshazzar_ there are three, but
in his chief work of this kind, _Israel in Egypt_, the greatest choral
epic which exists, is entirely occupied by Jehovah and His people.

The choruses are in the most diverse styles. Some are in the church
style, and a little antiquated;[330] others tend towards the opera--even
the _opéra bouffe_;[331] some exhale the perfume of the madrigals at the
end of the sixteenth century,[332] and the Academy of Ancient Music in
London sought to sustain this art in honour. On the other hand, Handel
has frequently used them in the form of a chorale, simple or
varied,[333] above all, he employs the choral double fugue in a most
astounding manner,[334] and he carries everything on with that
impetuosity of genius which drew to him the admiration of the sternest
critics of his time, such as Mattheson. His instinct as a great
constructor loved to alternate homophonic music with fugal
choruses,[335] the massive columns of musical harmony with the moving
contrapuntal in superimposed strata, very cleverly framing his dramatic
choruses in a most imposing architecture of decorative and impersonal
character. His choruses are sometimes tragic scenes,[336] or comedy (see
the _Vaudeville_),[337] sometimes _genre_ pictures.[338] Handel knew
most admirably how to weave in popular motives,[339] or to mingle the
dance with the song.[340]

But what belongs chiefly to him--not that he invented it, but made the
happiest use of it--is the musical architecture of solo and chorus
alternating and intermingled. Purcell and the French composers had given
him this idea. He attempted it in his earliest religious works,
especially in his _Birthday Ode for Queen Anne_, 1713, where nearly
every solo air is taken up again by the following chorus.[341] He had a
great feeling for light and pleased himself by introducing in the middle
of his choral masses, solo songs which soared up into the air like
birds.[342] His dramatic genius knew, when required, how to draw from
this combination the most astounding effects. Thus in the _Passion after
Brockes_, 1716, where the dialogue of the Daughter of Sion and the
chorus _Eilt ihr angefochten Seelen_, with its questions, its responses,
its Æschylian interjections, served as Bach's model for his St. Matthew
Passion. At the end of _Israel in Egypt_, after those great choral
mountains of sounds, by an ingenious contrast a female voice is heard
alone without accompaniment, and then a hymn alternating with the chorus
which repeats it. It is the same again at the end of the little short
_Ode to St. Cecilia_.

In the _Occasional Oratorio_ a duet for Soprano and Alto alternates with
the choruses, but it is in _Judas Maccabæus_ where he best achieves this
combination of solos and the chorus. In this victorious epic of an
invaded people, who rose up and overcame their oppressors, the
individualities are scarcely distinguished from the heroic soul of the
nation, and the chiefs of the people are only the choralists, whose
songs set dancing the enormous ensembles which unfold themselves in
powerful and irresistible progressions, like a giant's procession up a
triumphal staircase.

It follows then that when the orchestra is added to the dialogue of
solos and of choruses, the third element enters into the psychological
drama, sometimes in apparent opposition to the two others. Thus in the
second act of _Judas Maccabæus_ the orchestra which sounds the battle
calls makes a vivid contrast to the somewhat funereal choruses on which
they are interposed: _We hear the pleasing dreadful call_, or to put it
better, they complete them, and fill in the picture. After Death--Glory.

The oratorio being a "free theatre," it becomes necessary for the music
to supply the place of the scenery. Thus its picturesque and descriptive
_rôle_ is strongly developed and it is by this above all that Handel's
genius so struck the English public. Camille Saint-Saëns wrote in an
interesting letter to C. Bellaigue,[343] "I have come to the conclusion
that it is the picturesque and descriptive side, until then novel and
unreached, whereby Handel achieved the astonishing favour which he
enjoyed. This masterly way of writing choruses, of treating the fugue,
had been done by others. What really counts with him is the colour--that
modern element which we no longer hear in him.... He knew nothing of
exotism. But look at _Alexander's Feast_, _Israel in Egypt_, and
especially _L'Allegro ed Penseroso_, and try to forget all that has been
done since. You find at every turn a striving for the picturesque, for
an effect of imitation. It is real and very intense for the medium in
which it is produced, and it seems to have been unknown hitherto."

Perhaps Saint-Saëns lays too much weight on the "masterly way of writing
his choruses," which was not so common in England, even with Purcell.
Perhaps he accentuates too much also the real influence of the French in
matters of picturesque and descriptive music and the influence which it
exerted on Handel.[344] Finally, it is not necessary to represent these
descriptive tendencies of Handel as exceptional in his time. A great
breath of nature passed over German music, and pushed it towards
tone-painting. Telemann was, even more than Handel, a painter in music,
and was more celebrated than Handel for his realistic effects. But the
England of the eighteenth century had remained very conservative in
music, and had devoted itself to cultivating the masters of the past.
Handel's art was then more striking to them on account of "its colour"
and "its imitative effects." I will not say with Saint-Saëns that "there
was no question of exotism with him," for Handel seems to have sought
this very thing more than once; notably in the orchestration of certain
scenes for the two Cleopatras, of _Giulio Cesare_, and of _Alexander
Balus_. But that which was constantly with him was tone-painting, the
reproduction through passages of music of natural impressions, a
painting very characterised, and, as Beethoven put it, "more an
expression of feelings than of painting," a poetic evocation of the
raging tempests, of the tranquillity of the sea, of the dark shades of
night, of the twilight which envelops the English country, of the parks
by moonlight, of the sunrise in springtime, and of the awakening of
birds. _Acis and Galatea_, _Israel in Egypt_, _Allegro_, _The Messiah_,
_Semele_, _Joseph_, _Solomon_, _Susanna_, all offer a wondrous picture
gallery of nature, carefully noted by Handel with the sure stroke of a
Flemish painter, and of a romantic poet at the same time. This
romanticism struck powerfully on his time with a strength which would
not be denied. It drew upon him both admiration and violent criticism. A
letter of 1751 depicts him as a Berlioz or Wagner, raising storms by
his orchestra and chorus.

"He cannot give people pleasure after the proper fashion," writes this
anonymous author in his letter, "and his evil genius will not allow him
to do this. He imagines a new _grandioso_ kind of music, and in order to
make more noise he has it executed by the greatest number of voices and
instruments which one has ever heard before in a theatre. He thinks thus
to rival not only the god of musicians, but even all the other gods,
like Iöle, Neptune, and Jupiter: for either I expected that the house
would be brought down by his tempest, or that the sea would engulf the
whole. But more unbearable still was his thunder. Never have such
terrible rumblings fallen on my head."[345]

Similarly Goethe, irritated and upset, said, after having heard the
first movement of the Beethoven C Minor symphony, "It is meaningless.
One expected the house to fall about one's ears."

It is not by chance that I couple the names of Handel and Beethoven.
Handel is a kind of Beethoven in chains. He had the unapproachable
manner like the great Italian artists who surrounded him: the Porporas,
the Hasses, and between him and them there was a whole world.[346]
Under the classic ideal with which he covered himself burned a romantic
genius, precursor of the _Sturm und Drang_ period; and sometimes this
hidden demon broke out in brusque fits of passion--perhaps despite

       *       *       *       *       *

Handel's instrumental music deserves very close notice: for it is nearly
always wrongly assessed by historians, and badly understood by artists,
who treat it for the most part as a merely formal art.

Its chief characteristic is that of a perpetual improvisation. If it was
published, it was more in spite of Handel than at his instigation.[347]
It was not made to be played and judged coldly, but to be produced at
white heat to the public. They were free sketches, in which the form was
never completely tightened up, but remained always moving and living,
modifying itself at the concert, as the two sensibilities--the artist
and the public--came into touch with one another.[348] It is necessary
then to preserve in this music a certain measure of the character of
living improvisation. What we too often do, on the contrary, is to
petrify them. One cannot say that they are a caricature of the work of
Handel. They are rather a negation of it. When one studies with a minute
care every detail of the work, when one has attained from the orchestra
a precision of attack, an ensemble, a justness, an irreproachable
finish, we have yet done nothing more than raise up the mere figure of
this genial improvisator.

Further, there is with his instrumental music, as with his vocal music,
nearly always an intimate and picturesque expression. For Handel, as
with his friend Geminiani, "the aim of instrumental music is not only to
please the ear, but to express the sentiments, the emotions, to paint
the feelings."[349] It reflects not only the interior world, but it also
turns to the actual spectacle of things.[350] It is a precise poetry,
and if one cannot define the sources of his inspiration, one can often
find in certain of his instrumental works the souvenir of days and
journeys, and of scenes visited and experienced by Handel. It was here
that he was visibly inspired by Nature.[351]

Others have a relationship with vocal and dramatic works. Certain of the
heroic fugues in the fourth book of the Clavier pieces published in 1735
were taken up again by Handel in his _Israel in Egypt_ and clothed with
words which agreed precisely with their hidden feeling. The first
_Allegro_ from the Fourth Organ Concerto (the first book appeared in
1738) soon became shortly afterwards one of the prettiest of the
choruses in _Alcina_. The second and monumental concerto for two horns
in F Major[352] is a reincarnation of some of the finest pages from
_Esther_. It was quite evident to the public of his time that the
instrumental works had an expressive meaning, or that as Geminiani
wrote, "all good music ought to be an imitation of a fine discourse."
Thus the publisher Walsh was justified in issuing his six volumes of
Favourite Airs from Handel's operas and oratorios, arranged as _Sonatas
for the flute, violin, and harpsichord_, and Handel himself, or his
pupil, W. Babell, arranged excellently for the clavier, some suites of
airs from the operas, binding them together with preludes, interludes,
and variations.--It is necessary always to keep in view this intimate
relation of the instrumental works of Handel with the rest of his music.
It ought to draw our attention more and more to the expressive contents
of these works.

       *       *       *       *       *

The instrumental music of Handel divides itself into three classes:
firstly--music for the clavier (the clavecin and organ);
secondly--chamber music (sonatas and trios); thirdly--orchestral music.
The compositions for clavier are the most popular works of any that
Handel wrote, and these have achieved the greatest number of European
editions. Although they comprise three volumes, yet there is only one,
the first, which represents him properly, for it is the only one which
he prepared himself, and supervised. The others, more or less
fraudulently published, misrepresent him.

This First Volume, published in November, 1720, under the French title
_Suites_, etc., affords us the means of appreciating the two most
striking of Handel's traits: his precocious maturity, which hardly
developed at all in the course of time; and the European universality of
character which distinguished his art even at an epoch when the great
artists were less national than they are to-day. For the first trait one
would remark in fine that these Clavier Pieces published in 1720 had
already been written some time, certainly before 1700. One discovers a
part of them in the _Jugendbuch_ of the Lennard Collection.[353] Others
come from _Almira_, 1705. Naturally Handel enlarged and revised, and
carefully grouped all these pieces in his edition of 1720. The interest
of the _Jugendbuch_ is chiefly that it shows us the first sketches of
the pieces, and how Handel perfected them. Side by side with the oldest
pieces there are others more recent, composed, it may be, in Italy or in
England.[354] One can trace in these pages the course of the different
influences. Seiffert and Fleischer have noted some of them,[355] German
influences, French, and Italian.[356] In England even, sometimes
Italian elements, sometimes German, predominated with him.[357] The
order of the dances varies in each Suite, and also the central point,
the kernel of the work. The introductory pieces are sometimes preludes,
sometimes fugues, overtures, etc. The dances and the airs are sometimes
related to one another, and sometimes independent, and nevertheless the
prevailing impression of the work, so varied in its texture, is its
complete unity. The personality of Handel holds it all together and
welds the most diverse elements--polyphony and richness of German
harmony, Italian homophony, and Scarlattian technique, the French rhythm
and ornamentation[358] with English directness and practicability. Thus
the work made its impression on the times. Before this time, there had
perhaps been more original volumes of pieces for the clavier, but their
inspiration was nearly always very much circumscribed by the limits of
their national art. Handel was the first of the great German classics of
the eighteenth century. He did for music what the French writers and
philosophers of the eighteenth century did for literature. He wrote for
all and sundry, and his volume took the place on the day of its
publication which it has held since, that of a European classic.

The following volumes are less interesting for the reasons I have given.
The Second Volume published in 1733 by Walsh, _unknown_ to Handel, and
in a very faulty manner, gives us little pieces which we find in the
_Jugendbuch_, and which date from the time of Hamburg and Halle.[359]
They lack the setting which Handel had certainly planned for them:
preludes and fugues.

This arrangement was ready; and Handel, frustrated by this publisher,
resigned himself to publishing them later on, as an Appendix to the
preceding work: _Six Fugues or Voluntaries for the Organ or Harpsichord,
1735, Opus 3._ These fugues date from the time when Handel was at Canons
before 1720, the second in G Major was from the period of his first
sojourn in England. They became celebrated at once, and were much
circulated in manuscript even in Germany.[360] Handel had trained
himself in fugue in the school of Kuhnau, and specially with Johann
Krieger.[361] Like them he gave his Fugues an essentially melodic
character. They are so suited for singing that two of them, as we have
said, afterwards served for two choruses in the first part of
_Israel_,[362] but Handel's compositions possess a far different
vitality from that of his German forerunners. They have a charming
intrepidity, a fury, a passion, a fire which belongs only to him. In
other words they live. "All the notes talk," says Mattheson. These
fugues have the character of happy improvisations, and in truth they
were improvised. Handel calls them Voluntaries, that is fanciful and
learned caprices. He made frequent use of double fugues with a masterly
development. "Such an art rejoices the hearer and warms the heart
towards the composer and towards the executant," says Mattheson again,
who, after having heard J. S. Bach, found Handel the greater in the
composition of the double fugue and in improvisation. This habit of
Handel--one might say almost a craving--for improvising, was the origin
of the grand Organ Concertos. After the fashion of his time, Handel
conducted his operas and oratorios from the clavier. He accompanied the
singers with a marvellous art, blending himself to their fancy, and when
the singer had done, he delivered his version.[363] From the interludes
on the clavier in his operas, he passed to the fantasies or caprices on
the organ in the _entr'actes_ of his oratorios, and his success was so
great that he never again abandoned this custom. One might say that the
public were drawn to his oratorios more by his improvisations on the
organ than by the oratorios themselves. Two volumes of the Organ
Concertos were published during the lifetime of Handel, in 1738 and in
1740; the third a little after his death, in 1760.[364] To judge them
properly it is necessary to bear in mind that they were destined for
the theatre. It would be absurd to expect works in the strict, vigorous,
and involved style of J. S. Bach. They were brilliant _divertissements_,
of which the style, somewhat commonplace yet luminous and pompous,
preserves the character of oratorio improvisations, finding their
immediate effect on the great audience. "_When he gave a concerto_,"
says Hawkins, "_his method in general was to introduce it with a
voluntary movement on the diapasons, which stole on the ear in a slow
and solemn progression; the harmony close wrought, and as full as could
possibly be expressed; the passages concatenated with stupendous art,
the whole at the same time being perfectly intelligible, and carrying
the appearance of great simplicity. This kind of prelude was succeeded
by the concerto itself, which he executed with a degree of spirit and
firmness that no one can ever pretend to equal_." Even at the height of
the cabal which was organised against Handel, the Grub Street Journal
published an enthusiastic poem on Handel's Organ Concertos.[365]

  "_Oh winds, softly, softly raise your golden wings among the branches!_
   _That all may be silent, make even the whisperings of Zephyrs to cease._
   _Sources of life, suspend your course...._
   _Listen, listen, Handel the incomparable plays!..._
   _Oh look, when he, the powerful man, makes the forces of the
      organ resound,_
   _Joy assembles its cohorts, malice is appeased, ..._
   _His hand, like that of the Creator, conducts his noble work with
      order, with grandeur and reason...._
   _Silence, bunglers in art! It is nothing here to have the favour of
      great lords. Here, Handel is king._"

It is necessary then to view these Organ Concertos in the proper sense
of magnificent concerts for a huge public.[366] Great shadows, great
lights, strong and joyous contrasts, all are conceived in view of a
colossal effect. The orchestra usually consists of two oboes, two
violins, viola, and basses (violoncellos, bassoons, and cembalo),
occasionally two flutes, some contrabassos and a harp.[367] The
concertos are in three or four movements, which are generally connected
in pairs. Usually they open with a _pomposo_, or a _staccato_, in the
style of the French overture,[368] often an _allegro_ in the same style
follows. For the conclusion, an _allegro moderato_, or an _andante_,
somewhat animated, sometimes some dances. The _adagio_ in the middle is
often missing, and is left to be improvised on the organ. The form has a
certain relation with that of the sonata in three movements,
_allegro-adagio-allegro_, preceded by an introduction. The first pieces
of these two first concertos published in Volume XLVIII of the Complete
Edition (second volume) are in a picturesque and descriptive style. The
long Concerto in F Major in the same volume has the swing of festival
music, very closely allied to the open-air style. Finally, one must
notice the beautiful experiment, unfortunately not continued, of the
Concerto for two organs,[369] and that, more astonishing still, of a
Concerto for Organ terminated by a Chorus,[370] thus opening the way for
Beethoven's fine Symphony, and to his successors, Berlioz, Liszt, and

       *       *       *       *       *

The chamber music of Handel proves to be of the same precocious maturity
as his clavier music.

Six Sonatas in Trio for two oboes and harpsichord[372] appear to date
from about 1696, when he was eleven years old, and while he was still at
Halle, where he wrote as he said, "like the devil," above all for the
oboe, his favourite instrument. They are in four movements: _adagio_,
_allegro_, _adagio_, _allegro_. The slow movements are often very short,
and the second between them is sometimes a mere transition. The Sonata
for _Viola da Gamba_, and _Cembalo Concertato_ in C Major[373] probably
belongs to 1705, when Handel was at Hamburg. It is the only one of its
kind in the works of Handel, which shows him as a forerunner of Bach.
The sonata is in trio form. The clavier plays a second _obbligato_
besides the bass part, as Seiffert notes: "Ten years before Bach worked
at his Sonatas with accompaniment for _cembalo obbligato_, Handel had
already a clear perception of their value."

Three Sonatas for Flute and Bass,[374] of an elegiac grace, also perhaps
date from the Halle period, and according to Chrysander seem to have
been continued up to 1710 at Hanover.

But the chief instrumental chamber works written by Handel were
published in London between 1732 and 1740, and they comprise three

     (1) Fifteen sonatas or solos for a German flute, oboe or violin,
     with a thorough bass for the harpsichord, or bass violin, Op. 1.

     (2) Nine sonatas or trios for two violins, flutes, or oboes, with a
     thorough bass for the harpsichord, or violoncello, Op. 2.

     (3) Seven sonatas or trios for two violins, or German flutes, with
     a thorough bass for the harpsichord, or violoncello, Op. 5.

The first volume contains very old pieces, of which some date from the
time when Handel was at Burlington and Chandos. Others might have been
intended for the Prince of Wales, whose violin teacher, John Dubourg,
was a friend of Handel, as they date from about 1730. The second volume
appeared at first in Amsterdam, afterwards in London with Walsh, under a
French title[376] in 1733.

The third volume was composed in 1738, and published about the beginning
of 1739.[377]

The first feature to notice in general is the want of definition in the
choice of instruments for which this music was written. Following the
same abstract æsthetic of his time, the composer left it to the players
to choose the instruments. However, there was no doubt that in the first
conception of Handel certain of these pieces were made for the flute,
others for the violin, and others for the oboe.

In the volume Op. 1 of the solo sonatas (for the flute or oboe, or
violin) with bass (harpsichord or violoncello), the usual form is
generally in four movements:[378] _adagio_, _allegro_, _adagio_,
_allegro_. The slow pieces are very short. Several are inspired by the
airs of Italian cantatas and operas. Some of the pieces are joined
together.[379] The harmony is often thin, and requires to be filled in.

The second and third volumes have a much greater value, containing trios
or sonatas in two parts (for two violins, or two oboes, or two
_flauti-traversi_) with Bass (harpsichord or violoncello). All the
sonatas in the second volume, with only one exception,[380] have four
movements, two slow and two fast alternatively, as in the Opus 1.
Sometimes they are inspired by the airs of the operas, or of the
oratorios; at other times they have furnished a brief sketch for them.
The elegiac _Largo_ which opens the First Sonata is found again in
_Alessandro_, the _allegro_ which finishes the Third Sonata forms one of
the movements in the overture of _Athaliah_, the larghetto of the Fourth
serves for the second movement of the _Esther_ overture. Other pieces
have been transferred to the clavier or other instrumental works, where
they are joined to other movements. The finest of these Trios are the
First and the Ninth, both of enchanting poetry. In the second movement
of the Ninth Trio, Handel has utilised very happily a popular English

The Seven Trios from the third volume afford a much greater variety in
the style and in the number[381] of the pieces. Dances occupy a great
part.[382] They are indeed veritable Suites. They were composed in the
years when Handel was attracted by the form of ballet-opera. The
Musette and the _Allegro_ of the Second Sonata come from _Ariodante_.
Some of the other slow and pompous movements are borrowed from his
oratorios. The two _Allegri_ which open the Fourth Sonata are taken from
the Overture of _Athaliah_. On the other hand, Handel inserts in the
final movement of _Belshazzar_ the beautiful _Andante_ which opens his
First Sonata.

Whoever wishes to judge these works historically or from the
intellectual point of view, will find, like Chrysander, that Handel has
not invented here any new forms, and, as he advanced, he returned to the
form of the Suite, which already belonged to the past, instead of
continuing on his way towards the future Sonata. But those who will
judge them artistically, for their own personal charm, will find in them
some of the purest creations of Handel, and those which best retain
their freshness. Their beautiful Italian lines, their delicate
expression, their aristocratic simplicity, are refreshing alike to the
mind and to the heart. Our own epoch, tired of the post-Beethoven and
post-Wagnerian art, can find here, as in the chamber music of Mozart, a
safe haven, where it can escape the sterile agitation of the present and
find again quiet peace and sanity.

       *       *       *       *       *

The orchestral music of Handel comprises twelve _Concerti Grossi_
(1740), the six Oboe Concertos (1734), the Symphonies from his operas,
oratorios, and his open-air music--Water-Music (1715 or 1717), Firework
Music (1749),--and _Concerti_ for two horns.

Although Handel was in art a visualist, and though his music had a
highly descriptive and evocatory power, he only made a very restrained
use of instrumental tone-colour.[383] However, he showed on occasion a
refined intelligence in its use. The two oratorios written at Rome when
he found himself in the society of the Cardinal Ottoboni, and his great
_virtuoso_ works, _The Triumph of Time_ and _The Resurrection_ of 1708,
have a fine and well-varied orchestration.[384] In London he was one of
the first to introduce the use of the horn into the orchestra of the
opera.[385] "He was the first," says Volbach, "to assert the expressive
personality of the violoncello."[386] From the viola he knew how to
secure many curious effects of indefinite and disquieting
half-tones,[387] he gave to the bassoons a lugubrious and fantastic
character,[388] he experimented with new instruments, small[389] and
great,[390] he used the drum (_tambour_) solo in a dramatic fashion for
Jupiter's oath in _Semele_. For special situations, by instrumental
tone-colours, he secures effects not only of dramatic expression, but
also of exotism and local colour. It is so in the two scenes from the
two Cleopatras, _Giulio Cesare_ (1724)[391] and _Alexander Balus_

But great painter as Handel was he did not work so much through the
brilliancy, variety, and novelty of his tone-colours as by the beauty of
his designs, and his effects of light and shade. With a voluntarily
restrained palette, and by satisfying himself with the sober colours of
the strings, he yet was able to produce surprising and thrilling
effects. Volbach has shown[392] that he had less recourse to the
contrast and mixing of instruments than to the division of the same
family of instruments into different groups. In the introductory piece
movement to his second _Esther_ (1732) the violins are divided into five
groups;[393] in _The Resurrection_ (1708), into four divisions;[394] the
violas are sometimes divided into two, the second being reinforced by
the third violin, or by the violoncellos.[395] On the other hand,
Handel, when he considered it advisable, reduced his instrumental forces
by suppressing the viola and the second violin, whose places were taken
by the clavecin. All his orchestral art is in the true instinct of
balance and economy, which, with the most restricted means in managing a
few colours, yet knows how to obtain as powerful impressions as our
musicians of to-day, with their crowded palette.[396] Nothing, then, is
more important, if we wish to render this music truly, than the
avoidance of upsetting the equilibrium of the various sections of the
orchestra under the pretext of enriching it and bringing it up to date.
The worse fault is to deprive it, by a useless surplus of tone-colours,
of that suppleness and subtlety of nuance which is its principal charm.

One is prone to accept too readily the idea, that expressive nuance is a
privilege of the modern musical art, and that Handel's orchestra knew
only the great theatrical contrasts between force and sweetness, or
loudness and softness. It is nothing of the kind. The range of Handel's
nuances is extremely varied. One finds with him the _pianissimo_, the
piano, the _mezzo piano_, the _mezzo forte_, _un poco più F_, _un poco
F_, _forte_, _fortissimo_. We never find the orchestral _crescendo_ and
_decrescendo_, which hardly appears marked expressly until the time of
Jommelli,[397] and the school of Mannheim; but there is no doubt that it
was practised long before it was marked in the music.[398] The President
of Brosses wrote in 1739 from Rome: "The voices, like the violins, used
with light and shade, with unconscious swelling of sound, which augments
the force from note to note, even to a very high degree, since its use
as a nuance is extremely sweet and touching." And endless examples occur
in Handel of long _crescendi_ and _diminuendi_ without its expression
being marked in the scores.[399] Another kind of _crescendo_ and
_diminuendo_ on the same note was very common in the time of Handel, and
his friend, Geminiani, helped to set the fashion. Volbach, and with him
Hugo Riemann,[400] has shown that Geminiani used in the later editions
of his first Violin Sonatas in 1739, and in his Violin School in 1751,
the two following signs:

Swelling the sound [=\=]

Diminishing (falling) the sound [=/=]


As Geminiani explains it, "The sound ought to commence softly, and
should swell out in a gradual fashion to about half its value, then it
should diminish to the end. The movement of the bow should continue
without interruption."

It happens thus, that by a refinement of expression, which became a
mannerism of the Mannheim school, but which also became a source of
powerful contrast with the Beethovenians, the swelling stopped short of
its aim, and was followed instead by a sudden piano, as in the following
example from the Trio Sonatas of Geminiani.


It is more than probable that the virtuoso players of Handel's orchestra
also used this means of expression,[401] though we need not assume that
Handel used them as abundantly as Geminiani or as the Mannheim players,
whose taste had become doubtless a little affected and exaggerated. But
what is certain is that with him, as with Geminiani, and indeed with all
the great artists of his time, especially with the Italians and their
followers, music was a real discourse, and ought to be rendered with
inflections as free and as varied as natural speech.[402]


Handel is seen (on the left) seated at a cembalo with two keyboards in
the midst of his musicians. At his right hand he has the "concertino"
group (consisting of the 'cellist, two violinists and two flautists). On
his near left (quite close to the cembalo) are the vocal soloists. The
rest of the instrumentalists are out of his sight.]

How was it possible to realise all the suppleness and subtleties of
elocution on the orchestra? To understand this it is necessary to
examine the disposition and placing of the orchestra of that time. It
was not, as with us, centralised under the control of a single
conductor. Thus, as Seiffert tells us,[403] in Handel's time it was the
principle of decentralisation which ruled. The choruses had their
leaders, who listened to the organ, from which they took their cue, and
so sustained the voices. The orchestra was divided into three sections,
after the Italian method. Firstly, the _Concertino_, comprising a first
and a second violin, and a solo violoncello; secondly, the _Concerto
Grosso_, comprising the instrumental choir; thirdly, the _Ripienists_
strengthening the _Grosso_.[404]

A picture in the British Museum, representing Handel in the midst of his
musicians, depicts the composer seated at the clavier (a cembalo with
two keyboards, of which the lid is raised). He is surrounded by the
violoncellist (placed at his right-hand side), two violins and two
flutes, which are placed just before him, under his eye. The solo
singers are also near him, on his left, quite close to the clavecin. The
rest of the instrumentalists are behind him, out of his sight. Thus his
directions and his glances would control the _Concertino_, who would
transmit in their turn the chief conductor's wishes to the _Concerto
Grosso_, and they in their turn to the _Ripienists_. In place of the
quasi-military discipline of modern orchestras, controlled under the
baton of a chief conductor, the different bodies of the Handelian
orchestra governed one another with elasticity, and it was the incisive
rhythm of the little _Cembalo_ which put the whole mass into motion.
Such a method avoided the mechanical stiffness of our performances. The
danger was rather a certain wobbling without the powerful and infectious
will-power of a chief such as Handel, and without the close sympathy of
thought which was established between him and his capable sub-conductors
of the _Concertino_ and of the _Grosso_.

It is this elasticity which should be aimed at in the instrumental works
of Handel when they are executed nowadays.[405]

       *       *       *       *       *

We will first take his _Concerti Grossi_.[406] None of his works are
more celebrated and less understood. Handel attached to them a
particular value, for he published them himself by subscription, a means
which was usual in his day, but which he himself never adopted except
under exceptional circumstances.

One knows that the kind of _Concerti Grossi_, which consists chiefly in
a dialogue between a group of solo instrumentalists (the _Concertino_)
and the full body of instruments (_Concerto Grosso_), to which is added
the cembalo,[407] was, if not invented, at least carried to its
perfection and rendered classical by Corelli.[408] The works of Corelli,
aided by the efforts of his followers, had become widely known in
Europe. Geminiani introduced them into England,[409] and without doubt
Handel did not hesitate to profit by the example of Geminiani, who was
his friend;[410] but it is much more natural to think that he learnt the
_Concerto Grosso_, at its source at Rome, from Corelli himself during
his sojourn there in 1708. Several of his Concertos in his Opus 3[411]
date from 1710, 1716, 1722. The same feature shows itself right up to
the time of his apprenticeship at Hamburg: in any case he might have
already known the Corellian style, thanks to the propaganda of George
Muffat, who spread this style very early in Germany.[412] After Corelli,
Locatelli,[413] and especially Vivaldi,[414] have singularly transformed
the _Concerto Grosso_ by giving it the free character of programme
music[415] and by turning it resolutely towards the form of the Sonata
in three parts. But when the works of Vivaldi were played in London in
1723, and the works which aroused such a general enthusiasm became
thoroughly known to Handel, it was always to Corelli that he gave the
preference, and he was very conservative in certain ways even about him.
The form of his Concerto, of which the principal movements varied from
four to six, oscillated between the Suite and the Sonata, and even
glanced towards the symphonic overture. It is this for which the
theorists blame him, and it is this for which I praise him. For he does
not seek to impose a uniform cast on his thoughts, but leaves it open to
himself to fashion the form as he requires, and the framework varies
accordingly, following his inclinations from day to day. The spontaneity
of his thought, which has already been shown by the extreme rapidity
with which the _Concerti_ were composed--each in a single day at a
single sitting, and many each week[416]--constitutes the great charm of
these works. They are, in the words of Kretzschmar, grand impression
pictures, translated into a form, at the same time precise and supple,
in which the least change of emotion can make itself easily felt. Truly
they are not all of equal value. Their conception itself, which depended
in a way on mere momentary inspiration, is the explanation of this
extreme inequality. One ought to acknowledge here that the Seventh
Concerto, for example (the one in B flat major), and the last three have
but a moderate interest.[417] They are amongst those least played; but
to be quite just we must pay homage to these masterpieces, and
especially to the Second Concerto in F major, which is like a
Beethovenian concerto: for we find there some of the spirit of the Bonn
master. For Kretzschmar the ensemble calls to mind a beautiful autumn
day--the morning, where the rising sun pierces its way through the
clouds--the afternoon, the joyful walk, the rest in the forest, and
finally the happy and belated return. It is difficult in fact not to
have natural scenes brought before one's eyes in hearing these works.
The first _Andante Larghetto_, which predicts, at times, the Pastoral
Symphony of Beethoven, is a reverie on a beautiful summer's day. The
spirit lulls itself with nature's murmur, becomes intoxicated with it,
and goes to rest. The tonality rocks between F major to B flat major and
G minor. To render this piece well it is necessary to give the time
plenty of play, often retarding it, and following the composer's reverie
in a spirit of soft leisurely abandon.

[Illustration: _Andante larghetto_]

The _Allegro_ in D minor which follows is a spirited and delicate little
play, a dialogue leaping from the two solo violins of the _Concerto_,
then on to the _Concertino_ and the _Grosso_ in turn. There, also,
certain passages in the Bass, robust, rollicking, and rustic, again
bring to mind the Pastoral Symphony.

[Illustration: _Allegro_]

[Illustration: _Largo_]

The third movement, a _Largo_ in B flat major, is one of the most
intimate of Handel's instrumental pages. After seven bars of _Largo_, in
which the _Concertino_ alternates dreamily with the _Tutti_, two bars
_adagio_, languorously drawn out, cause the reverie to glide into a sort
of ecstasy,

[Illustration: _Adagio_]

then a _larghetto andante e piano_ breathes out a tender and melancholy

[Illustration: _Larghetto andante_]

The _Largo_ is resumed. There is in this little poem a melancholy which
seems to revive Handel's personal remembrances.--The _allegro ma non
troppo_ with which it finishes is, on the contrary, of a jovial feeling,
entirely Beethovenish; it sings joyfully as it bounds along in
well-marked three-four time, with a _pizzicato_-like rhythm.

[Illustration: _Allegro ma non troppo_]

In the middle of this march a phrase occurs on the two violins of the
_Concertino_ which is like a hymn of reverent and tender gratitude.



The Fourth Concerto in A minor is not less intimate with its _Larghetto
affettuoso_, which ought to be played with the _rubato_, _rallentando_
and short pauses--its _allegro_ fugue, which spreads out and
over-shadows all by its powerful tread--and after a _Largo_ of antique
graveness the _allegro_ three-four which finishes is the veritable last
movement of the Beethoven sonata, romantic, capricious, passionate, and
more and more unrestrained as it approaches the end, _accelerando_
nearly _prestissimo_,--inebriated.[418]

[Illustration: _Allegro_]


But one ought to know especially the Sixth Concerto in G minor, the most
celebrated of all on account of its magnificent Musette. It opens with a
beautiful _Larghetto_, full of that melancholy which is one of the
dominant sentiments with Handel, and one of the least observed by most
people: melancholy that is, in the sense of the _Malinconia_ of Dürer,
or of Beethoven--less agitated, but still profound. We have already
encountered it in the Second, in the Third, and in the Fourth
Concerto.[419] Here it is found in an elegiac monologue, punctuated by
pedal points;

[Illustration: _Largo affettuoso_]

then in the dialogues of the _Concertino_ and of the _Tutti_ responding,
like the groups of the ancient classical chorus. The _allegro ma non
troppo_ fugue which follows it, on a twisting chromatic theme, is of the
same sombre colour. But it is the lusty march of the disciplined fugue
which dispels the fantastic shadows.

[Illustration: _Allegro ma non troppo_]

Then comes the _Larghetto_, three-four time in E flat major, which
Handel calls a Musette, and which is one of the most delightful dreams
of pastoral happiness.[420] A whole day of poetic and capricious events
gradually unrolls itself over the beautiful echoing refrain,

[Illustration: _Larghetto_]

then the movement slackens, nearly going to sleep, then presses forward
again, acquiring a strong, joyous rhythm, a pulsating dance of robust
youths, full of bounding life.

In the midst of this picture an episode, rustic and frolicsome, is


[Illustration: _Un poco piu allegro_]


Then the broad subject of the Introduction recurs with its refrain of
quiet joy, nature's own smile.[421]

Such works are truly pictures in music. To understand them it does not
suffice to have quick ears; it is necessary to have the eyes to see, and
the heart to feel.[422]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Symphonies of the operas and oratorios of Handel are extremely
varied. Still, the Lully form predominates.[423] This form consists, as
is well known, of a first slow movement, grave, pompous, and majestic,
followed by a second (quick) movement, full of life, and usually in
fugal style, with a return to the slow movement for conclusion. It
appears in the _Almira_ of 1705, and Handel uses it with variations in
all the most celebrated works of his maturity, such as in the _Messiah_,
and _Judas Maccabæus_, and even has recourse to it again in his last
work of all, _The Triumph of Time_ (1757), but he does not confine
himself entirely to this form alone. The _Symphonia of Roderigo_ (1707)
adds to the Lully-like overture a _Balletto_ in the Italian style, a
veritable Suite of Dances: Jig, Sarabande, Matelot, Minuet, Bourrée,
Minuet, Grand Passacaille. The Overture to _The Triumph of Time_ of 1708
is a brilliant Concerto, where the _Concertino_ and the _Grosso_
converse in a most entertaining and graceful fashion. The Overture to
_Il Pastor Fido_, 1712, is a Suite in eight movements. That of _Teseo_,
1713, contains two Largos, each followed by a playful movement of
imitation. That of the _Passion after Brockes_, 1716, consists of a
single fugued allegro,[424] which is joined to the first chorus by the
link of a declamatory solo on the oboe.[425] The Overture to _Acis and
Galatea_, 1720, is also a single movement. The Overture to _Giulio
Cesare_, 1724, is joined on to the first chorus, which is in the form of
the third movement, the Minuet. The Overture to _Atalanta_, 1736, has a
charming sprightliness, similar to an instrumental suite for a _fête_,
like the Firework Music, of which we shall speak later. The Overture to
_Saul_, 1738, is a veritable Concerto for organ and orchestra, and the
sonata form is adopted in the first movement.--We see then a very marked
effort on the part of Handel, particularly in his youth, to vary the
form of his Overture from one work to another.

Even when he uses the Lully type of Overture (and he seems to turn
towards it more and more in his maturity) he transforms it by the spirit
which animates it. He never allows its character to be purely
decorative. He introduces therein always expressive and dramatic
ideas.[426] If one cannot exactly call the splendid Overture to
_Agrippina_, 1709, a Concert Overture of programme music, one cannot
deny its dramatic power. The second movement bubbles with life. It is no
longer an erudite _divertissement_, a movement foreign to the action,
but it has a tragic character, and the response of the fugue is apparent
in the severe and slightly restless subject of the first piece. For
conclusion the slow movement is recalled by a solo on the oboe, which
announces it out in the pathetic manner made so well known in certain
_recitatives_ of J. S. Bach.

[Illustration: _Adagio_]

Many people have seen in the three movements[427] of the Overture to
_Esther_, 1720, a complete programme, which Chrysander gives thus in
detail: firstly, the wickedness of Haman; secondly, the complaints of
Israel; thirdly, the deliverance. I will content myself by saying that
the ensemble of this symphony is thoroughly in the colour and spirit of
the tragedy itself--but it is not possible to doubt that, with the
Overture of _Deborah_ and with that of _Belshazzar_ that Handel wished
to work to a complete programme; for of the four movements of the
_Deborah_ Overture, the second is repeated later on as the Chorus of the
Israelites, and the fourth as the Chorus of Baal's priests. Thus in his
very first pages he places in miniature in the Overture the duality of
the nations, whose antagonism forms the subject of the drama.[428] It
seems also true that the Overture to _Belshazzar_ aims at painting the
orgy of the feast of Sesach, and the apparition of the Divine Hand which
wrote the mystic words of fire on the wall. In every case dramatic
intentions are very evident; by the three repeats; the interrupted flow
of the orchestra is intersected by three short chords, _piano_; and,
then after the sudden silence, three bars of solemn and soft music are
heard like a religious song.[429]

[Illustration: _Allegro_]


We now come to our last class of Handel's instrumental music, to which
historians have given far too little attention, and in which Handel
shows himself a precursor, and at the same time a model. I refer to the
open-air music.

This took a prominent place in the English life. The environs of London
were full of gardens, where, Pepys tells us, "vocal and instrumental
concerts vied with the voices of the birds." Concerts were given at
Vauxhall; at South Lambeth Palace on the Thames; at Ranelagh, near
Chelsea, about two miles from the city; at Marylebone Garden; and Handel
was always welcome there. From 1738 the proprietor of Vauxhall, Jonathan
Tyer, erected in its gardens a statue of Handel, and this was hardly
done when the _Concerti Grossi_ became the favourite pieces at the
concerts of Marylebone, Vauxhall, and Ranelagh. Burney tells us that he
often heard them played by numerous orchestras. Handel wrote pieces
especially intended for these garden concerts. Generally speaking, he
attached little importance to them. They were little symphonies or
unpretentious dances, like the Hornpipe, composed for the concert at
Vauxhall in 1740.[430] An anecdote related by Pohl and also by
Chrysander, shows Handel pleasantly engaged on this music, which gave
him no trouble at all.

But he composed on these lines some works tending towards a much vaster
scale: from 1715 or 1717 the famous Water Music, written for the royal
procession of barges on the Thames,[431] and the Firework Music made to
illustrate the firework display given in Green Park on April 27, 1749,
in celebration of the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle.[432]

The Water Music has a grand Serenade in the form of a suite comprising
more than twenty movements. It opens with a pompous Opera-overture;
then come some dialogues, with echoes of horns and drums, where the
brass and the rest of the orchestra, which are arranged in two sections,
respond. Then follow happy and soothing songs, dances, a Bourrée, a
Hornpipe, Minuets, popular songs, which alternate and contrast with the
joyful and powerful fanfares. The orchestra is very nearly the same as
in his usual symphonies, except that considerable importance is given to
the brass. One even finds in this work certain pieces written in the
chamber-music style, or in the theatrical manner.

With the Firework Music the character of open-air music is even more
definitely asserted, quite as much by the broad style of the piece as by
the orchestration, which is confined entirely to the wind
instruments.[433] The composition is divided into two parts: an Overture
which was to be played before the grand firework display, and a number
of little pieces to be played during the display, and which corresponded
to certain allegorical set pieces. The Overture is a sort of stately
march in D major, and has some resemblance to the Overture of the
_Ritterballet_ (Huntsman's Dance) of Beethoven, and which is, like it,
joyful, equestrian, and very sonorous. The shorter movements comprise a
Bourrée, a _Largo a la Siciliana_, entitled _Peace_,[434] of a beautiful
heroic grace, which lulls itself to sleep; a very sprightly _Allegro_
entitled _The Rejoicing_, and two Minuets for conclusion. It is an
interesting work for the organisers of our popular _fêtes_ and open-air
spectacles to study.[435] If we have said that after 1740 Handel wrote
hardly any other instrumental music than the Firework Music, and the two
monumental concertos, _a due cori_ (for two horns) we have the feeling
that the last evolution of his thought and instrumental style led him in
the direction of music conceived for great masses, wide spaces, and huge
audiences. He had always in him a popular vein of thought. I immediately
call to mind the many popular inspirations with which his memory was
stored, and which vivify the pages of his oratorios. His art, which
renewed itself perpetually at this rustic source, had in his time an
astonishing popularity. Certain airs from _Ottone_, _Scipione_,
_Arianna_, _Berenice_, and such other of his operas, were circulated and
vulgarised not only in England,[436] but abroad, and even in France
(generally so unyielding to outside influences).[437]

It is not only of this popularity, a little banal, of which I wish to
speak, which one could not ignore--for it is only a stupid pride and a
small heart which denies great value to the art which pleases humble
people;--what I wish to notice chiefly in the popular character of
Handel's music is that it is always truly conceived for the people, and
not for an _élite dilettanti_ as was the French Opera between Lully and
Gluck. Without ever departing from his sovereign ideas of beautiful
form, in which he gave no concession to the crowd, he reproduced in a
language immediately "understanded of the people" those feelings in
which all could share. This genial improvisor, compelled during the
whole of his life (a half-century of creative power) to address from the
stage a mixed public, for whom it was necessary to understand
immediately, was like the orators of old, who had the cult of style and
instinct for immediate and vital effect. Our epoch has lost the feeling
of this type of art and men: pure artists who speak _to_ the people and
_for_ the people, not for themselves or for their confrères. To-day the
pure artists lock themselves within themselves, and those who speak to
the people are most often mountebanks. The free England of the
nineteenth century was in a certain measure related to the Roman
republic, and indeed Handel's eloquence was not without relation to that
of the epic orators, who sustained in the form their highly finished and
passionate discourses, who left their mark on the shuddering crowd of
loiterers. This eloquence did on occasion actually thrust itself into
the soul of the nation as in the days of the Jacobite invasion, where
_Judas Maccabæus_ incarnated the public feeling. In the first
performances of _Israel in Egypt_ some of the auditors praised the
heroic virtues of this music, which could raise up the populace and lead
armies to victory.

By this power of popular appeal, as by all the other aspects of his
genius, Handel was in the robust line of Cavalli and of Gluck, but he
surpassed them. Alone, Beethoven has walked in these broader paths, and
followed along the road which Handel had opened.



In chronological order, with the dates and places of the first

(The figures in brackets refer to the number of the Volume in the
Complete Edition of Handel's Works.)

 1.  _Almira_ (55)                        Hamburg,   1705.
 2.  _Nero_ (lost)                          "        1705.
 3.  _Florinda_ (lost)                      "  about 1706.
 4.  _Daphne_ (lost)                        "  about 1706.
 5.  _Roderigo_ (56)                      Florence,  1707.
 6.  _Agrippina_ (57)                     Venice,    1708.
 7.  _Rinaldo_ (58)                       London,    1711.
 8.  _Il Pastor Fido_ (59)                   "       1712.
 9.  _Teseo_ (60)                            "       1713.
10.  _Silla_ (61).   Never performed in
       public (probably privately performed
       at Canons).
11.  _Amadigi_ (62)                       London,    1715.
12.  _Radamisto_ (63)                        "       1720.
       (There are three versions.)
13.  _Muzio Scævola_ (64)                    "       1721.
14.  _Floridante_ (65)                       "       1721.
15.  _Ottone_ (66)                           "       1723.
16.  _Flavio_ (67)                           "       1723.
17.  _Giulio Cesare_ (68)                    "       1724.
18.  _Tamerlano_ (69)                        "       1724.
19.  _Rodelinda_ (70)                     London,    1725.
20.  _Scipione_ (71)                         "       1726.
21.  _Alessandro_ (72)                       "       1726.
22.  _Admeto_ (73)                           "       1727.
23.  _Riccardo Primo, Re d'Inghilterra_      "       1727.
24.  _Siroe_ (75)                            "       1728.
25.  _Tolomeo, Re d'Egitto_ (76)             "       1728.
26.  _Lotario_ (77)                          "       1729.
27.  _Partenope_ (78)                        "       1730.
28.  _Rinaldo_ (new version) (58)            "       1731.
29.  _Poro_ (79)                             "       1731.
30.  _Ezio_ (80)                             "       1732.
31.  _Sosarme_ (81)                          "       1732.
32.  _Orlando_ (82)                          "       1733.
33.  _Arianna_ (83)                          "       1734.
34.  _Terpsichore_ (84)
35.  _Ariodante_ (85)                        "       1735.
36.  _Alcina_ (86)                           "       1735.
37.  _Atalanta_ (87)                         "       1736.
38.  _Giustino_ (88)                         "       1737.
39.  _Arminio_ (89)                          "       1737.
40.  _Berenice_ (90)                         "       1737.
41.  _Faramondo_ (91)                        "       1738.
42.  _Serse_ (92)                            "       1738.
43.  _Imeneo_ (93)                           "       1740.
44.  _Deidamia_ (94)                         "       1741.
45.  _Jupiter in Argos_ (MS. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
       Advertised but never performed), 1739.
46.  _Tito._ Unperformed and unpublished.
47.  _Alfonso Imo._ Unperformed and unpublished.
48.  _Flavio Olibrio._ Unperformed and unpublished.
49.  _Honorius._ Unperformed and unpublished.
50.  An unnamed opera (MS. Fitzwilliam Museum).
51.  Eleven Pasticcios, arranged at various times between
       1730 and 1747.


 1.  _Passion according to St. John_ (9)      Hamburg, 1704.
 2.  _Resurrezione_ (32)                         Rome, 1708.
 3.  _Il Trionfo del Tempo_ (24)                  "    1708.
 4.  _The Passion of Christ_ (15)             Hamburg, 1717.
 5.  _Esther_ (First Version)                  Canons, 1720.
 6.  _Esther_ (Second Version) King's Theatre, London, 1733.
 7.  _Deborah_ (29)            King's Theatre, London, 1733.
 8.  _Athaliah_ (5)                            Oxford, 1733.
 9.  _Saul_ (13)               King's Theatre, London, 1739.
10.  _Israel in Egypt_ (16)              "      "      1739.
11.  _Messiah_                                 Dublin, 1742.
12.  _Samson_ (10)                      Covent Garden, 1743.
13.  _Joseph_ (42)                         "    "      1744.
14.  _Belshazzar_ (19)                 King's Theatre, 1745.
15.  _Occasional Oratorio_ (43)         Covent Garden, 1746.
16.  _Judas Maccabæus_ (22)                "     "     1747.
17.  _Joshua_ (17)                         "     "     1748.
18.  _Alexander Balus_ (33)                "     "     1748.
19.  _Solomon_ (26)                        "     "     1749.
20.  _Susanna_ (1)                         "     "     1749.
21.  _Theodora_ (8)                        "     "     1750.
22.  _Jephtha_ (44)                        "     "     1752.
23.  _Triumph of Time and Truth_ (20)      "     "     1757.


 1. _Acis, Galatea e Polifemo_ (53)                Naples, 1708.
 2. _Birthday Ode for Queen Anne_ (46a) St. James' Palace, 1713.
 3. _Acis and Galatea_ (3)                         Canons, 1720.
 4. _The Alchemist_                               Covent Garden, 1732.
 5. _Il Parnasso in Festa_ (54)                  King's Theatre, 1734.
 6. _Alexander's Feast_ (12)                      Covent Garden, 1736.
 7. _Ode for St. Cecilia's Day_ (23)       Lincoln's Inn Fields, 1739.
 8. _Praise of Harmony_                       "       "    about 1739.
 9. _L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed Il
    Moderato_ (6)                          Lincoln's Inn Fields, 1740.
10. _Hymen_                                              Dublin, 1742.
11. _Semele_ (7)                                  Covent Garden, 1744.
12. _Hercules_ (4)                               King's Theatre, 1745.
13. _Alceste_ (46b). Incidental music to play.
    (Never performed)                                    1749 or 1750.
14. _Choice of Hercules_ (18). An Interlude       Covent Garden, 1751.


 1. _Laudate Pueri in F_                                  Halle, 1702.
 2. _Dixit Dominus_ (38)                                   Rome, 1707.
 3. _Nisi Dominus_ (38)                                 Rome or Halle.
 4. _Laudate Pueri in D_ (38)                              Rome, 1707.
 5. _Silete venti_ (38)                                     "    1708.
 6. _Six Alleluias_ (38). For voice and  harpsichord.
 7. _Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate_ (31)    St. Paul's Cathedral, 1713.
 8. _Te Deum in D_ (37)                                    About 1714.
 9. _Fifteen Chandos Anthems_ (34). For chorus, organ
    and orchestra                                     Canons, 1716-18.
10. _Te Deum in B flat_ (37)                                  1716-18.
11. _Four Coronation Anthems_ (14).
      For seven-part chorus and large
      orchestra                               Westminster Abbey, 1727.
12. _Te Deum in A_ (37)                                    About 1727.
13. _O Praise the Lord, Ps. CIII._, etc.
      (36). Anthem for chorus and
14. _Wedding Anthem, Ps. XLV._, etc.
      (36). Eight-part chorus, solos,
      orchestra, and organ             Wedding of Princess Anne, 1734.
15. _Wedding Anthem, Ps. LXVIII._, etc.
      Chorus, solos, and orchestra
                                  Wedding of the Prince of Wales, 1736.
16. _Funeral Anthem_ (II)                Death of Queen Caroline, 1737.
17. _Dettingen Te Deum_ (25)                                      1743.
18. _Dettingen Anthem, Ps. X. and XI._,
      etc. (36)                                                   1743.
19. _Foundling Hospital Anthem, Ps.
      XLI._, etc. (36)                                            1749.
20. Three Hymns. MS. in Fitzwilliam Museum. Words
      by the Rev. C. Wesley. "Sinners, obey the
      Gospel word," "O Love divine, how sweet thou
      art," "Rejoice, the Lord is King."


1. Seventy-two Solo Cantatas for one or two voices
     with instruments (52 a, b, c). Italian. No. 8 is
     English; No. 18 is Spanish with guitar accompaniment.

2. Twenty-two Italian Duets and two Trios with
     harpsichord and violoncello (32).

3. Seven Italian Sonatas. Unpublished. MSS. in
     Fitzwilliam Museum.


 1. Six Sonatas for two oboes with thorough-bass for
    harpsichord (73)                                             1696.
 2. Sonata for viola-da-gamba and cembalo concertata in
    C (48)                                              Hamburg, 1705.
 3. _Klavierbuch aus der Jugendzeit_ (48)                        1710.
 4. Three Sonatas for flute and harpsichord
    (48)                                 Probably Hanover, about 1710.
 5. Water Music (47)                                             1715.
 6. _Suites de pièces pour clavecin_ (2)               Published 1720.
 7. Fifteen Solos for a German flute, oboe or violin,
    with a thorough-bass for harpsichord or bass violin (27)     1724.
 8. Six Concertos (21), Op. 3. _Concerti grossi con due
    violini e violoncello di concertino e due altri violini,
    viola e basso di concerto grosso ad arbitrio_, known as
    the Oboe Concertos                                    Walsh, 1729.
 9. Nine Sonatas or Trios for two violins, flutes, or
    oboes, with a thorough-bass for harpsichord or
    violoncello, Op. 2 (27)                               Walsh, 1733.
10. _Suites de pièces pour clavecin_ (2). Second
    volume pilfered by Walsh in 1733.
11. _Pièces pour clavecin_ (2). Five pieces Witvogel
    in Amsterdam, 1733. Several clavecin pieces still
    remain in MS. at Buckingham Palace and Fitzwilliam

12. Overture for the pasticcio _Oreste_ (48)                     1734.
13. Six "Fugues or Voluntaries for the organ or harpsichord,"
    Op. 3a (2)                                            Walsh, 1735.
14. Overture in G minor for the pasticcio _Alessandro
    Severo_ (48)                                                 1738.
15. Six Organ Concertos, Op. 4 (48)                       Walsh, 1738.
16. Seven Sonatas or Trios for two violins or German flutes,
    with a thorough-bass for the harpsichord or violoncello,
    Op. 5 (27)                                            Walsh, 1739.
17. Hornpipe, composed for the concert at Vauxhall (48).
    For strings in three parts                                   1740.
18. Six Concertos for organ arranged by Walsh from the
    Orchestral Concertos                                         1740.
19. Twelve Grand Concertos, Op. 6a (30). For strings only,
    in seven parts                                        Walsh, 1740.
20. _Pièces pour le clavecin_ (2)                         Cluer, 1742.
21. Forest Music (47)                                            1742.
22. Fire Music (47)                                              1749.
23. Concerto for two organs and orchestra in D minor (48).
    Movement only exists.
24. Overture in B minor (48). Adapted by Walsh from the
    Overture to _Trionfo del Tempo_.
25. Organ Concerto in D minor (48). Two movements.
26. Organ Concerto in F (48).
27. Partita in A (48).
28. Six little Fugues. (Dubious.)
29. Concerto for trumpets and horns.
30. Concerto for horns and side-drums.
31. _Sinfonie diverse_ (48). Eight short pieces for orchestral
32. Overture in five movements (incomplete) for two clarionets
    and corno di caccia. MS. in Fitzwilliam Museum.

       *       *       *       *       *

The COMPLETE HANDEL EDITION contains as supplements several volumes of
works by various Italian and German composers, which Handel has utilised
in his compositions, namely:--

1. _Magnificat_ said to be by Erba.
2. _Te deum_ said to be by Urio.
3. _Serenata_ by Stradella.
4. _Duetti_ by Clari.
5. _Componimenti musicali_ by G. Muffat.
6. _Octavia_ by Reinhard Keiser.


FRIEDRICH CHRYSANDER, _G. F. Handel_. 3 vols., 1858-67, Leipzig.

(The name of Chrysander ought to be attached permanently to that of
Handel, for his life was entirely devoted to him. It was he who founded
in 1856, with Gervinus, the GERMAN HANDEL SOCIETY and who accomplished
nearly the whole of the Complete Edition of the Works of Handel in one
hundred volumes by himself alone. His biography is a monument of science
and devotion comparable with Philipp Spitta's _J. S. Bach_ and Otto
Jahn's _Mozart_. Unfortunately the work remained unfinished: it stopped
at the year 1740. Max Seiffert completed it.)

SCHOELCHER, _The Life of Handel_. 1857.

(Schoelcher's works, anterior to those of Chrysander, are valuable on
account of their collection of documents rather than that of the general
laying out of the works. As we have seen, the priceless collection of
these documents is housed at the Paris Conservatoire.)

HERMANN KRETZSCHMAR, _Georg Friedrich Handel_ (published in the
_Sammlung musikalischer Vorträge_ by Paul Graf Waldersee).

FRITZ VOLBACH, _Georg-Friedrich Hændel_ (Collection: _Harmonie_. 1898,

(These two last works are excellent little _résumés_ of the life and
works of Handel.)

J. A. FULLER-MAITLAND, _The Age of Bach and Handel_ (The Oxford History
of Music, Vol. IV). 1902, Oxford.

R. A. STREATFEILD, _Handel_. 1909, London.

(This book is one of the first in England which has freed the figure of
Handel from the false mass of moralising and teaching under which the
author of the _Messiah_ was buried. He shows the richness and freedom of
Handel's work and rectifies several points in the German biographies.)

ADIMOLO, _G. F. Handel in Italia_.

SEDLEY TAYLOR, _The Indebtedness of Handel to Works by other Composers_.
1906, Cambridge.

P. ROBINSON, _Handel and his Orbit_. 1908, London. (These two last books
are concerned with the question of Handel's plagiarisms.)

F. VOLBACH, _Die Praxis der Hændel-Aufführung_, 1889. Thesis for

(On the Orchestra of Handel.)

HUGO GOLDSCHMIDT, _Die Lehre von der vocalen Ornamentik_. 1907.

(On the vocal execution of Handel's works, and particularly on the
question of Handel's ornaments. This matter has been the subject of
numerous discussions in the numbers of the _International Musical
Gazette_, especially by Max Seiffert.)

WEITZMANN, _Geschichte der Klaviermusik_, Vol. 1, 1899 (continued and
completed by Seiffert and Fleischer). (For the Clavier Works of Handel.)

ERNEST DAVID, _Handel_. 1884.

CAMILLE BELLAIGUE, _Les Époques de la Musique_, Vol. I, 1909.

For readers desirous of consulting the sources of the biographies of
Handel, the most interesting works written by his contempories are:

JOHANN MATTHESON, _Handel_ (in his _Ehrenpforte_, 1740).

MAINWARING, _Memoirs of the Life of the late G. F. Handel_. London,
1760. (Translated into German with annotations by Mattheson, 1761; into
French by Arnaud and Suard in 1778.)

BURNEY, _Commemoration of Handel_. London, 1785.

HAWKINS, _General History of Music_. London, 1788.

W. COXE, _Anecdotes of G. F. Handel and Smith_. London, 1799.



Academy of Ancient Music, 54, 137

Academy of Italian Opera, 73

_Acis and Galatea_, 7, 46, 72, 85, 108, 120, 182

Addison, 16, 60

_Agrippina_, 46, 183

Airs adapted to French words, 191 n.

Alberti, 6

_Alceste_, 104

_Alcina_, 91, 122, 127

_Alexander Balus_, 102

_Alexander's Feast_, 92, 108, 93 n., 160 n.

_Almahade_, 62

_Almira_, 33, 34, 36, 124

Amadigi, 68

Amsterdam, 149

Ademollo, 40

Arbuthnot, Dr., 81 n.

Architecture, Musical, 138

_Arianna_, 88, 95

_Arias Buffi_, 128

_Arietti Da Capo_, 125

_Ariodante_, 91, 122

_Arioso_, 133

Ariosti, 11

Aristoxenians, 24

_Arminio_, 91, 93 n.

Arne, 96 n.

_Arsinoé_, 62

_Astarto_, 78

_Atalanta_, 91, 93, 124, 131, 182

_Athaliah_, 85, 86

_Athalie_, 48

Augsburg, 53

Augustus of Saxony, Duke, 1, 3, 42


Babell, Wm., 145, 149 n.

_Bacchus und Ariadne_, 90

Bach, 3, 21, 29, 56, 70, 104, 113, 119, 121, 150, 152

Ballet-Operas, 122

Bankruptcy, 93, 100

Bartolommeo, 57

Bass soloists, 123 n.

Bassoons, 160

Battle of Dettingen, 99 n.

Beech Oil Company, 63

Beethoven, 10, 108, 142, 154, 176, 192

Beethovenians, 164

_Beggar's Opera_, 62, 81

_Belshazzar_, 99, 128, 135, 136, 184

_Berenice_, 91, 93 n.

Berlin, 11, 108

Berlioz, 109, 121, 142, 154

Bernabei, 51, 56

Bernhard, 16

Bible, 2

Biblical dramas, 71, 85

Birds, 187

_Birthday Ode to Queen Anne_, 66, 138

Blindness, 105

Bolingbroke, 100

Bologna, 75

_Bonduca_, 59

Bononcini, 62, 74, 75, 79, 86 n., 122

Brandenburg, 3, 12

Breslau, 108

British Museum, 165

Brockes, 64

Burlington, Lord, 67, 74

Burney, 187

Buxtehude, 29, 30, 31


Cadenzas, 128

_Camilla, Regina de Volsei_, 62

Canons, 149

_Cara sposa (Rinaldo)_, 125

Carey, 96

Caricature of Handel's art, 144

Carriage-accident to Handel, 104

Carillon in _Saul_, 115

_Castrati_, 80

Cavalli, 193

Chaconnes, 149 n.

_Chandos Anthems_, 71, 85, 136

Characters, 135

_Choice of Hercules_, 104, 187 n.

Choruses, 132, 140

Chrysander, 57, 110

Cibber, Colley, 81 n.

Classical chorus, 136

Clavier pieces, 145

Clayton, 61

_Cleopatra_, 32, 160

Colour, 140, 141

Comic style of Keiser, 128

Commemoration festival, 107

Composing music, 142 n.

Concert overture, 183

_Concerti Grossi_, 95, 165, 166

_Concertino_, 165

Concerto, 168, 190, 188

Concerto for two organs, 154

Concerto for organ with chorus, 154

Concerto for two horns, 145, 159

Concerto for organ, 183

Conductor, 165

Corelli, 11, 115, 168

_Coronation Anthems_, 83, 85

Cousser, 18

Covent Garden Theatre, 92

_Creation_, Haydn's, 108

_Crescendo_, 163

_Critica Musica_, 24

Culloden Moor, 101

Cuzzoni, 80 n.


_Da Capo_ form, 56, 77, 124, 132

Dances, 133

Death, Handel's, 107

_Deborah_, 85, 95, 110, 184

_Deidamia_, 91 n., 95, 122, 124

Dent, Edward, 38

Descartes, 49

_Dettingen Te Deum_, 99, 160 n.

_Dido and Æneas_, 59

_Die lustige Hochzeit_, 35

_Diminuendo_, 163

_Dioclesian_, 59

_Divertissement_, 183

Domenico Scarlatti, 44

Double fugue, 150

Drums, 160

Drury Lane Theatre, 81 n.

Dryden, 92

Dublin, 97

Dubourg, 156

Duchess Sophia, 67

Duel with Mattheson, 33

Duets, Vocal, 131

Duke of Chandos, 71, 72

Duke of Cumberland, 101

Dukes of Hanover, 49

Dürer, 176


Education, 6

_Ehrenpforte_, 26

England, 70, 109, 112, 113, 148, etc.

English taste, 59

English country, 114

Ensemble pieces, 133

_Entr'actes_, 151

Erba, 118

Ernest Augustus, Duke, 49

_Esther_, 48, 70, 71, 72, 120, 161, 184

Eugène, Prince, 37, 157

Exotism, 160

_Ezio_, 84


_Faramondo_, 91, 93

Faustina, 80

Festivals, 107

Fifth Concerto, 176

_Finale_, 133

Fire-arms in orchestra, 160

Firework music, 103, 159, 189

First Sonata, 157

Flemish carillon in _Saul_, 115

Florence, 39

_Floridante_, 79

_Florindo und Daphne_, 35

Forms, 133, 134, 158, 168

Foundling Hospital, 103, 105 n., 165

France, 122

Fraudulent copies, 143 n.

Free theatre, 121, 134, 139

French dances, 91

French influences, 14

French language, 48

French model, 89

French organists, 113

French rhythm, 148

French style, 148

French vocal style, 48

Froberger, 6

Fugues, 149

_Funeral Anthem_, 93, 93 n.


Garden scene, _Rinaldo_, 124

Gay, 67, 72 n.

Geminiani, 144, 163, 164

_Genre_ pictures, 135, 138

George of Hanover, 68

German geniuses, 112

German Handel Society, 109, 201

German influences, 147, 148 n.

German patriotism, Handel's lack of, 67

Germany, 109, 142

Gervinus, 110, 201

_Giulio Cesare_, 79, 122, 127, 182

_Giustina_, 93, 124

Gluck, 36, 99, 101, 122, 127, 191, 192

Goethe, 109, 112

Goldschmidt, 55

Graces, 128

Grattan-Flood, 97

Graun, 124

Greece, 110

Green, Maurice, 96

Green Park, 198

Grimani, 46

Griselda, 79

_Grub Street Journal_, 152


Hailstone chorus, 118

Halle, 14, 64, 66, 69, 74, 113

_Haman_, 71

Hamburg, 7, 15, 18, 35, 113

Handel Society, 109, 201

Handel musical festivals, 119

Handel's joust with Bononcini, 79

Hanover, 19, 42, 49, 51

Hanoverian nobles, 49

_Harmony in revolt_, 143 n.

Harp, 160 n.

Hasler, 36

Hasse, 36, 45, 87, 115, 117, 124

Hawkins, Sir J., 91, 152

Haydn, 108

Haymarket Theatre, 74, 89

Heidegger, 89

_Henrico Leoni_, 52

_Hercules_, 8, 99, 110, 127

Herder, 109

Hill, Aaron, 63

Hiller, 108

Holland, 31, 58

Horn, 159

Hornpipe, 187

House of Hanover, 65

Humour in Handel, 128


_Il Pastor Fido_, 65, 182

_Imeneo_, 91 n., 95 n.

Imitative effects, 141

Improvisation, 143, 150, 152

Improviser, 116

Independence, Handel's, 109

Instrumental  music, 9, 143, 144, 146

Ireland, 97

_Israel in Egypt_, 71, 94, 95, 118, 137, 145, 150

Italian homophony, 148

Italian influences, 147

Italian musicians, 36

Italian songs in _Hercules_, 115

Italian violinists, 113

Italy, 37, 112, 113

Italianised Germans, 63

Italians, 61, 148


James I, Stuart, 49

Jennens, 97, 99

_Jephtha_, 104, 116

_Jerusalem Delivered_, 63

John Frederick, Duke of Hanover, 49

_Joseph_, 99, 127

_Joshua_, 80, 102

_Jubilate_, 66

_Judas Maccabæus_, 101, 102, 106, 109, 139, 184, 192

_Jugendbuch_, 146, 149


Keiser, 17, 19, 21, 31, 35, 122, 126

Kerl, 6

Kielmansegg, 49

_King Arthur_, 59, 60

Krieger, 6, 150

Kuhnau, 7


_L'Allegro_, 95, 114

Languages, 22

_La Salle_, 90

Latin Psalms, 39

Law, 14

Lawyers, 4

Leibnitz, 69

_Leit-motiv_, 128

_Leider_, 77 n.

Leipzig, 16, 108

Lent, 106, 107

Leo, 178

Leonardo, 118

Light and shade, 161

Liszt, 109, 154

Local colour, 160

Locatelli, 168

London, 42, 58, 65, etc.

London Academy of Opera, 83

_London Daily Post_, 96

London operas, 126

_Lotario_, 84

Lubeck, 28

_Lucretia_, 39

Lully, 18, 19, 181


Mad scene in _Orlando_, 127

Mahler, 154

Mainwaring, 47

Manchester, Duke of, 42

Mandoline, 160 n.

Mannheim players, 164

Marcello, 3

Marylebone, 167

Mattheson, 5, 18, 21, 23, 27, 82

Mayence, 110

Medici, 36

Mendelssohn, 119

Melodic lines, 117

Melodist, 28

_Messiah_, 8, 59, 97, 98, 104, 108, 119, etc.

Miller, 99

_Mitridate Eupatore_, 41

Modulations, 76

Muffat, 168

Mozart, 21, 36, 88, 108, 117

Munich, 51, 52

Musette, 178

Musical architecture, 132

Musical comedy, 128

Musical dramas, 135

_Musical Patriot, The_, 24, 27

_Muzio Scevola_, 79


Naples, 112, 145

National musician of England, The, 102

Natural scenes, 170

_Nero_, 33, 34

Newspapers, The first, 16

Nicolini, 63

_Nitocris_, 128

Nuance, 163


Objective art, 133

Oboe concertos, 64, 158

_Occasional Oratorio_, 101, 139, 185 n.

_Ode to Queen Anne_, 68

_Ode to St. Cecilia_, 92, 95

_Ombra cara_ from  _Radamisto_, 125

Open-air fêtes, 120, 190

Open-air music, 187

_Opera Buffa_, 137

_Opera Comique_, 91, 122, 128

_Opera Diabolica_, 17

Opera houses, 51, 102

Oratorios, 120, 122, 136, etc.

Orchestra, 9, 103, 153, 165

Orchestral concertos, 181 n.

Orchestral music, 158

Organ, 105

Organ concertos, 150-153

Organ music, 30

_Orlando_, 84, 122

Ottoboni, Cardinal, 43, 46

_Ottone_, 79, 190


Pagan life, 185

Painting in music, 141

Painting, 185

Palestrina, 114 n.

Pantheon, 107

_Parnasso in festa_, 89 n., 96 n.

_Partenope_, 84

_Partenza_, 45

Pasquini, 43, 44

_Passion according to St. John_, 25, 32

_Passion after Brockes_, 70, 138, 182

Passionate scenes, 133

_Passions_, 69

_Pastor Fido_, 89

_Pastoral Symphony_, 170

Pepusch, 96

Piccadilly, 67

Pictures, Love of, 115

Pietism, 12, 39, 71

_Pifferari_, 46, 114

Pirro, 13

Pistocchi, 11

Pistol-shot in orchestra, 160 n.

Plagiarisms, 118

_Polifemo_, 76

Pope, 67, 82, 142 n.

_Poro_, 84

Porpora, 87, 88

Postel, 22, 31

Pratolino, 38

Pretender, Charles Edward, 100

Princess of Wales, 81

Programme music, 184, 185 n.

Psalms, 70, 120

Purcell, 58, etc.

Puritanical opposition, 61

_Pygmalion_, 90

Pythagoreans, 24


Quartets, 131

Queen Anne, 65, 68

Quintet, 132


_Radamisto_, 74, 78

Rameau's _Acanthe_, 164 n.

Ranelagh, 187

Raphael, 10

Recitative, 20

_Recitative-arioso_, 126

Recitatives and airs, 128

Relationship with vocal, 145

Resurrection, 44, 159, 161

Rhythms, 134

_Riccardo I_, 81, 186 n.

Rich's theatre, 90

Rigid and stolid manner of rendering Handel's works, 119

_Rinaldo_, 63, 64

_Roderigo_, 40, 42, 182

_Rodelinda_, 80

Rôles, Singers', 123

Romances, 91

Rome, 39

_Rosamunde_, 62

Roseingrave, 114 n.

Rosenmüller, 4

Roubiliac, 107

Ruspoli, Cardinal, 42


St. John Chrysostomo's Theatre, 41, 47

St. Paul's Cathedral, 66

Saint-Saëns, 140, 141

_Samson_, 31, 98, 126

_San Giovanni Grisostomo_, 41, 47

_Saul_, 94, 126, 183

Scarlatti, 38, 41, 43, 76, 122, 127

Schott, 22

Schumann, 109

Schütz, 36, 56

_Second Concerto in F major_, 170

_Semele_, 127, 135

Semi-romantic colour, 115

_Serse_, 91 n., 122, 124, 98 n.

_Servio Tullio_, 52

Seven Trios or Sonatas in two parts, 94

_Seventh Concerto_, 169

Shakespeare, 121

Sicilian legend, 72

Sight gone, 105

_Singakademien_, 108, 110

_Siroé_, 81

Six Fugues or Voluntaries, 149

Six Sonatas in Trio, 154

_Sixth Concerto in G minor_, 176

Smith, C., 107

Smollett, 100

Society for the Maintenance of Poor Musicians, 96, 107

Solo voices, 123

_Solomon_, 102, 131

Sonata for Viola da Gamba, 154

Sonatas or trios for two violins, flutes, 155

Sonatas or trios for two violins, 155

Sonatas for the flute, violin, and harpsichord, 145

Sonatas for flute and bass, 64, 155

Sophia Charlotte, Princess, 11

Speed of working, Handel's, 116

Steffani, 7, 11, 19, 46, 51, 64, 122

Storms, Musical, 142

Streatfeild, 37, 40

Strungk, 6

Stuart party, 68

Stuart, James I, 66

Strauss, R., 121

Stradella, 118

_Sturm und Drang period_, 143

Styles, 133, 134, 137

Suites, etc., 146

_Suites de pièces pour le clavecin_, 143

_Susanna_, 102

Symphonies, 158

Swift, 67, 82


_Tamerlano_, 79, 84, 122, 127

Tarquini, 40

_Te Deum_, 65, 66, 68, 120

Telemann, 56, 141

Tendencies, 122

Tenor, 123

_Terpsichore_, 90

_Teseo_, 65, 127

Theatre, 120

Theatre closed, Handel's, 93

Theile's _Creation_, 17

_Theodora_, 48, 104, 135

Theologians, 4

Theology, 12

_The Triumph of Time and Truth_, 106, 159, 160, 161

Third Violin, Part for, 161

Thirty Years' War, 4

Thornhill, 23

_Tomomeo_, 81

Tone-colour, 159, 160, 161

_Tor di Nona_, 39

Touch, 151

_Trionfo del Tempo_, 106

Trios, 131

Tunbridge Wells, 92

Tyer, 187


Utrecht, 66


Vatican, 44

_Vaudeville_, 138

Vauxhall Gardens, 94, 100, 101, 107, 187

Venice, 40, 42

_Vierge d'Martyre_, 48

Vinci, 84

Viola, 160, 161

Violoncellist, 75

Violoncello, 160

_Violette marine_, 160 n.

_Virtuoso_ powers, 40, 49

Vivaldi, 168

Vocal _ensemble_ pieces, 130

Vocal ornamentation, 128, 129


Wagner, 142

Walpole, 81

Walsh, 145, 149, 181 n.

Water music, 68 n., 158, 188

Weissenfels, 3

Westminster Abbey, 107

Witchcraft, 13


Zachau, 5, 15, 113

_Zadock the Priest_, 109 n.

Zappi, 43


A series of small books on various musical subjects written in a popular
style for the general reader.


Each about 200 pages.



Sub-Organist St. Paul's Cathedral.

Director of Music at the pro-Cathedral, Westminster.










       *       *       *       *       *

These typographical errors were corrected by the text transcriber:

constituted for it a model for emulatation=>constituted for it a model
for emulation

Hinweg, du Dornen schwangre Krone!=>Hinweg, du Dornen schwangere Krone!

his voice suberbly depicted=>his voice superbly depicted

George Moffat=>Muffat [Muffat, Georg (1653-1704)]

Vivaldi's influence in Germany on a Granpuer=> Vivaldi's influence in
Germany on a Graupnuer [Graupner (Christoph, 1683-1760)]

_Te deum_ said to be by Vrio.=>_Te deum_ said to be by Urio. [Urio,
Francesco Antonio, 1631-1719]

Domenio Scarlatti=>Domenico Scarlatti

Andimollo, Andimolo=>Ademollo

Christoph Bernhart, pupil of Schütz=>Christoph Bernhard, pupil of Schütz

Bernhardt, 16=>Bernhard, 16

He stayed at Dusseldorf with the Elector=>He stayed at Düsseldorf with
the Elector

Locatalli and Vivaldi came under the influence of the Italian
Opera.=>Locatelli and Vivaldi came under the influence of the Italian

of Locatalli (Op. 7, 1741) was named _Il pianto d'Arianna_.=>of
Locatelli (Op. 7, 1741) was named _Il pianto d'Arianna_.

(1890 in the _Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenfchaft_)=>(1890 in the
_Vierteljahrsschrift für Musikwissenschaft_)

Abbé Prevost=>Abbé Prévost

Reinhärd Keiser=>Reinhard Keiser

Max Seifiert: Haendels Verhältnis zu Tonwerken ælterer deutscher
Meister=>Max Seiffert: Haendels Verhältnis zu Tonwerken ælterer
deutscher Meister

_Siroë_, 81=>_Siroé_, 81

Pratelino, 38=>Pratolino, 38

that Lecerf de la Vieville wrote his _Comparaison de la musique
française et de la musique italienne_=>that Lecerf de la Viéville wrote
his _Comparaison de la musique française et de la musique italienne_

       *       *       *       *       *


[1] The genealogical tree of Handel has been prepared by Karl Eduard
Förstemann: _Georg Friedrich Haendel's Stammbaum_, 1844, Breitkopf.

The name of Handel was very common at Halle in different forms
(_Hendel_, _Hendeler_, _Händeler_, _Hendtler_). One would say that its
derivation signified "merchant." G. F. Handel wrote it in Italian
_Hendel_, in English and French _Handel_, in German _Händel_.

[2] It is interesting to note that Johann Sebastian Bach was born at
Eisenach on March 21, 1685.

[3] Of the four children by the second marriage, the first died at
birth. George Frederick had two sisters: one, two years, the other, five
years younger than himself.

[4] He died in 1672.

[5] Legendary anecdotes of the little Handel are often quoted, showing
him rising from his bed in the middle of the night to play a little
clavichord, which was concealed in an upper garret.

[6] See the Preface which the choirmaster of the Thomas School at
Leipzig, Tobias Michael, wrote to the second part of his _Musikalische
Seelenlust_ (1637); and in the life of Rosenmüller the story of the
scandalous affair which in 1655 forced this fine musician to flee from
his country (August Horneffer: _Johann Rosenmüller_, 1898).

[7] F. W. Zachau was born in 1663 at Leipzig, and died prematurely in
1712. His father came from Berlin. The original spelling of the name was

[8] Since the publication of the works of Zachau by Max Seiffert in the
_Denkmäler deutscher Tonkunst_, Vols. XXI and XXII, 1905, Breitkopf.

[9] Matheson refers to this briefly also, but the later historians,
Chrysander, Volbach, Kretzschmar, Sedley Taylor have not taken any
account of these words, which they attribute to the generosity of
Handel, and to the malevolence of Matheson. In their judgment he did not
even know the works of Zachau--this is very hard on Handel's master.
Since the publication of the _Denkmäler_ it is impossible not to
recognize in Zachau the true originator of his style, and even, so to
speak, of the genius of Handel.

[10] _Lebensbeschreibung Haendels_ (1761).

[11] One notices many of Kerl's themes in one of Handel's Organ
concertos, and in a Concerto Grosso. A _canzone_ of Kerl; also a
_capriccio_ of Strungk has been transferred bodily into two choruses of
_Israel in Egypt_ (Max Seiffert: _Haendels Verhältnis zu Tonwerken
ælterer deutscher Meister_, Jahrbuch Peters, 1907).

[12] The two parts of the Clavier Exercises of Kuhnau appeared in 1689
and 1692. The new Clavier Pieces in 1696 and the Bible Sonatas in 1700.
(See the Edition of Kuhnau's clavier works by Karl Pasler in the
_Denkmäler deutscher Tonkunst_, 1901).

[13] See Chrysander. We shall speak later on of the work of Steffani and
its relation to Handel.

[14] The volume of his published works comprises 12 cantatas for
orchestra, soli, and chorus, and a _capella_ (unaccompanied) Mass, a
chamber work (trio for flute, bassoon, and continuo), 8 preludes,
fugues, fantasias, capriccios for clavecin or organ, and 44 choral

[15] Compare the Tenor air _O du werter Freudengeist_ (p. 71) and
accompaniment, and _ritornello_ of the _violini unisoni_ in the 4th
cantata _Ruhe, Friede, Freud und Wonne_ with the air of Polyphemus in
Handel's _Acis and Galatea_; compare also the subject in the Bass air of
the 8th cantata (p. 189) with the well-known instrumental piece which
Handel used for the Symphony in the Second Act of _Hercules_; also the
Tenor solo with horn, _Kommt jauchzet_ (p. 181) in the 8th cantata:
_Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele_ with the soprano air in _The Messiah_. One
also finds in the cantata _Ruhe, Friede_ (p. 83) the sketch for the
famous chorus of the destruction of the walls of Jericho in _Joshua_.

[16] _Ruhe, Friede_, p. 122.

[17] _Ibid._, pp. 113, 183.

[18] _Ibid._, pp. 110, 141, 254, 263.

[19] _Ibid._ 8th Cantata. _Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele_, p. 166, the
German _Hallelujah_ with its fine flow of jubilant
vocalizing--especially on page 192, the great final chorus.

[20] See his pretty trio for flute, bassoon and clavier (p. 313). It is
a small work in 4 movements (1. _Affettuoso_; 2. _Vivace_; 3. _Adagio_;
4. _Allegro_), where clear Italian grace mixes itself so happily with
German _Gemüth_.

The orchestra for the cantatas seldom includes anything but the strings
with the organ or the clavier. But in general the palette of Zachau is
very rich, comprising violas, violetti, violoncello, harps, oboes,
flutes, hunting horns, bassoons and bassonetti, and even clarini (high
trumpets) and drums (Cantata: _Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar_).

Zachau amuses himself by combining the tone-colours of the different
instruments with those of the voices in the solo airs; thus a Tenor air
is accompanied by a violoncello solo; another by two hunting horns; an
air for the Bass is combined, with the bassoon _obbligato_; another with
4 drums and trumpets; a Soprano air with the bassoon and 2 bassonetti;
without mentioning innumerable airs with oboes or flutes.

Thanks to Zachau, Handel was familiarized at an early date with the
orchestra. He learnt at his house how to play all the instruments,
especially the oboe, for which he has written many charming numbers.
When he was ten years old he wrote some Trios for 2 oboes and bass. An
English nobleman travelling in Germany found a little collection of 6
Trios (Sammlung dreistimmiger Sonaten für Zwei Oboen und Bass, sechs
Stück) dating from this period (Volume 28 of the Complete Handel

[21] See his beautiful air for bass in the Cantata _Lobe den Herrn_, p.

[22] Certain very simple phrases as in the Cantata for the _Visitation_,
"_Meine Seel erhebt den Herren_," the recitative for Soprano "_Denn er
hat seine elende Magd angesehen_" (p. 112) have an exquisite flavour of
virginal humility which we never find in Handel.

[23] The Torellian violinist, Antonio Pistocchi, who was one of the
masters of Italian song, the father, Attilio Ariosti, Giovanni
Bononcini, Steffani, who wrote for the Electress some famous duets, and
Corelli, who dedicated to her his last Violin Sonata, op. 5.

[24] The first representation took place June 1, 1700, with a pastoral
ballet of Ariosti. Leibnitz was present at the full rehearsal.

[25] All that one has heard of his meeting with Ariosti and Bononcini is
somewhat legendary. A. Ebert has shown that Ariosti only went to Berlin
in 1697, and that Bononcini did not arrive in Germany till November,
1697, and they were not there together before 1702. In order that Handel
should have met them there it was necessary that they should return in
1703 on their way to Hamburg. But then he was eighteen years; and the
legend of the infant prodigy being victorious over the two masters thus
disappears (_Attilio Ariosti in Berlin_, 1905, Leipzig).

[26] The broad-minded policy of the Electors of Brandenburg attracted to
their University at Halle many of the most independent men in Germany
who had been persecuted elsewhere. Thus the Pietists who were driven
from Leipzig came to Halle. Indeed they flocked there from all parts of
Germany, Switzerland, and the Low Countries (Volbach: _Vie de Haendel_,
and Levy-Bruhl: _L'Allemagne depuis Leibnitz_, 1890).

[27] See the fine studies of J. S. Bach by Pirro.

[28] One knows that the trial of witchcraft was one of the many blots on
this period. More than a hundred thousand victims perished in the
funeral pyres of witchcraft in one century! Frederick II said that if
women could die peacefully of old age in Germany, it was all owing to

[29] The yearly contract with the Cathedral church was dated March 30,
1702, a month after he had signed the faculty of law.

[30] Telemann, passing through Halle in 1701, said that he made the
acquaintance of Handel, who was already there "a man of importance"
("Dem damahls schon wichtigen Herrn Georg Friedrich Haendel")--a
singular epithet indeed to apply to a child of sixteen years! Chrysander
had indeed reason to insist on the precocious maturity of Handel, "No
one was his equal in that, even J. S. Bach, who developed much more

[31] Already for several years he had composed "like the devil," as he
said of himself once.

[32] There are attributed to him two oratorios (very doubtful), one
Cantata, _Ach Herr mich armen Sünder_, and a _Laudate Pueri_ for Soprano
solo, which are anterior to his departure for Hamburg.

[33] Alfred Heuss was the first to show what attraction the musical
drama had for Zachau, who introduced it even into the Church. Some of
his cantatas, the 4th, for example, _Ruhe, Friede, Freud und Wonne_,
very unjustly criticised by Chrysander, is a fragment of a fantastic
opera where one finds David tormented by evil spirits. The declamation
is expressive, and the choruses have a highly dramatic effect. Thus we
see the theatrical career of Handel was prepared in Halle, and perhaps
it was Zachau himself who sent Handel to Hamburg (A. Heuss: _Fr. Wilh.
Zachau als dramatischer Kantaten-Komponist_). (I.M.G., May, 1909).

[34] In reality under the influence of English publications, and notably
_The Spectator_ of Addison, 1711. About 1713 _The Man of Reason_
appeared in Hamburg. In 1724 to 1727 the journal _The Patriot_ of
Hamburg was founded by a patriotic society. The original intention was
to print 400 copies, but 5000 were subscribed for in Upper Saxony alone.

[35] The secular music about 1728 reckoned in its ranks 50 masters and
150 professors. In comparison, religious music was much more poorly
represented than in many other cities of north Germany.

[36] _The Birth of Christ, Michael and David, Esther._

[37] _Dramatologia antigua-hodierna_, 1688.

[38] _Theatromachia_, or _die Werke der Finsterniss_ (The Powers of
Darkness), by Anton Reiser, 1682.

[39] _Histoire de l'Opèra avant Lully et Scarlatti_, 1895, pp. 217-222.

[40] Reinhard Keiser was born in 1674 at Teuchern, near Weissenfels, and
he died in 1739 at Copenhagen.

See Hugo Leichtentritt: _Reinhard Keiser in seinen Opern_, 1901, Berlin;
Wilhelm Kleefeld: _Das Orchester der ersten deutschen Oper_, 1898,
Berlin; F. A. Voigt: _Reinhard Keiser_ (1890 in the _Vierteljahrsschrift
für Musikwissenschaft_)--the Octavia and the _Croesus_ of Keiser have
been republished.

[41] For instance in the overtures in 3 parts, with French indications
"_Vitement, Lentement_"; also in the instrumental preludes, and perhaps
in the dances.

[42] Principally in the duets, which have a slightly contrapuntal

[43] "Is it the orchestra which is the hero?" asked the theorist of
Lullyism, Lecerf de la Viéville. "No, it is the singer...." "Oh, well,
then, let the singer move me himself, and take care not to worry me with
the orchestra, which is only there by courtesy and accident. _Si vis me
flere...._" (_Comparaison de la Musique italienne et de la Musique
française_, 1705).

[44] "One can represent quite well with simple instruments," says
Mattheson, "the grandeur of the soul, of love, of jealousy, etc., and
render all the feelings of the heart by simple chords and their
progressions without words, in such a way that the hearer can know and
understand their trend, the sense and thought of the musical discourses
as if it were a veritably spoken one" (_Die neueste Untersuchung der
Singspiele_, 1744).

[45] The preface of the _Componimenti Musicali_ of 1706. Mattheson
exaggeratingly says that "to compose well a single recitative in keeping
with the feelings and the flow of the phrase as Keiser did, needs more
art and ability than to compose ten airs after the common practice."

[46] Compare the _recitative_ in the first great cantatas of J. S. Bach,
"Aus der Tiefe, Gottes Zeit," which cover from 1709 to 1712-14, with
such _recitatives_ from "Octavia" of Keiser (1705), notably Act II,
_Hinweg, du Dornen schwangere Krone!_ Melodic inflections, modulations,
harmonies, grouping of phrases, cadences, all in the style of J. S. Bach
even more than in that of Handel.

[47] See in _Croesus_ (1711) the air of Elmira, with flute, which calls
to mind a similar air from _Echo and Narcissus_ by Gluck.

[48] In this genre a scene from _Croesus_ is a little masterpiece in the
pastoral style of the end of the eighteenth century; and is very close
to Beethoven.

[49] Such as the _Song of the Imprisoned Croesus_, which calls to mind
certain airs in _The Messiah_.

[50] I need only cite one example: it is the air of Octavia with two
soft flutes, "Wallet nicht zu laut," one of the most poetic pages of
Keiser, which Handel reproduced several times in his works, and even in
his _Acis and Galatea_, 1720.

[51] Postel, who used seven languages in the Prologues of his Libretti,
was opposed to this mixture in poetical works, "for that which ornaments
learning," he says, "disfigures poetry."

[52] Certain German operas mix High German, Low German, French and

[53] He was born at Hamburg in 1681, and died there in 1764. See L.
Meinardus: _J. Mattheson und seine Verdienste um die deutsche Tonkunst_,
1870; and Heinrich Schmidt: _J. Mattheson, ein Förderer der deutschen
Tonkunst_, 1897, Leipzig.

[54] He violently attacked in the _Volkommene Kapellmeister_ (1739) the
"Pythagoreans" of whom the chief was Lor. Christoph Mizler, of Leipzig,
who attempted to work out music on the lines of mathematics and logic.
With the "Aristoxenians" (harmonists) he wished to rescue music from an
iron vice, from the hands of the skeleton of a dead science, and from
scholasticism. The ear was his law. "Let your art be encompassed where
the ear alone reigns: that should suffice. Where nature and experience
leads you, all is well. Do it, play it, sing it; for wrong doing, avoid
it, efface it" (_Das forschende Orchestre_). Against the scholastic, he
opposed the fecund and living harmonic science (_Harmonische
Wissenschaft_); he demanded that the latter should be taught in the
universities, and offered to bequeath a large sum to found a Chair for a
musical lectureship in the college of his native city.

[55] Especially in _Das neueröffnete Orchestre_ (1713), _Das beschützte
Orchestre_ (1717), _Das forschende Orchestre_ (1721). We might say that
the most fruitful of his theoretical writings is _Der Vollkommene
Kapellmeister_ (1739), which might even to-day serve as the basis of a
work on musical æsthetics, and that it was the work which produced a
good part of our musicology.

[56] He warns German musicians against going to Italy, whence they
return like so many birds plucked of their feathers, with their great
weaknesses hidden, and an intolerable presumption. He reproached Germany
with not helping her national musicians, who were languishing and
becoming extinct (_Volk. Kapellm._ and _Critica Musica_).

[57] Twenty-four monthly books which appeared with interruptions from
May, 1722, to 1725, Hamburg. There were musical polemics,
correspondence, interviews with musicians, analyses of their books and
works, a shoal of letters on the last opera, on the last concert, on the
life of a musician, on a new clavier, on a singer, etc. One finds
pre-eminently very solid musical critiques, perhaps the oldest which
exist. The minute analysis of Handel's _Passion according to St. John_
was still celebrated when the work itself was forgotten. "It is
perhaps," said Marpurg in 1760, "the first good critique which was
written on choral music" since it sprang into being.

[58] _Critica Musica._

[59] "When I think as a tone-poet (Tondichter)," he says, "I think of
something higher than a great figure.... Formerly musicians were poets
and prophets." In another place he writes, "It is the property of music
to be above all sciences a school of virtue, _eine Zuchtlehre_" (_Vollk.

[60] _Grundlagen einer Ehrenpforte, worin der tüchtigsten Kapellmeister,
Komponisten, Musikgelehrten, Tonkünstler, etc. Leben, Werke, Verdienste,
etc., erscheinen sollen, 1740._

[61] _Vollkommene Kapellmeister_, 1739--he devoted a very important
study, which he called the _Hypokritik_ (Pantomime), to it in this work.

[62] _Ibid._

[63] In theory rather than in practice: for his operas are mediocre.
Besides, he soon lost his taste for the theatre, his religious scruples
being too strong for him. He wished at first to purify the Opera, to
make the theatre something serious and sacred, which should act on the
masses in an instructive and elevating manner (_Musikalischer Patriot_,
1728). Then he saw that his conception of a moral and edifying opera had
no chance of being realised. Finally he lost his interest, and even
rejoiced in 1750 over the final ruin which overtook the Hamburg Opera.

[64] Mattheson, who spoke perfect English, and who became a little later
the secretary to the English Legation, then resident in the interim,
presented Handel to the English Ambassador, John Wich, who entrusted
them both with the instruction of his son.

[65] _Ehrenpforte._--Telemann, a co-disciple of Handel, says also that
both Handel and he worked continually at melody.

[66] With a kind of protective touch, however, on the part of Mattheson.
During the first months Handel would never have dreamt of offending him.
The style of his letters to Mattheson in March, 1704, was extremely
respectful. In fact Mattheson was then in advance of him, and his
superior in social position.

[67] See in the _Ehrenpforte_ the story of this journey, and the frolics
which happened on the way to the two joyful companions.

Buxtehude was a Dane, born at Elsinore in 1637. He settled at Lubeck,
where he remained as the organist of St. Mary's Church, from the age of
thirty years until his death in 1707.

[68] It was the custom that the organ of a church should be given with
the daughter, or the widow of the organist. Buxtehude himself, in
succeeding Tunder, had married his daughter.

[69] J. S. Bach went to Lubeck in October, 1705, and instead of staying
a month, as arranged, he spent four months there; an irregularity which
cost him his position at Celle.

[70] The organ works of Buxtehude have been republished by Spitta and
Max Seiffert, in 2 volumes by Breitkopf (see the short, but pithy, study
of Pirro in his little book on _L'Orgue de J. S. Bach_, Paris, 1895, and
Max Seiffert: _Buxtehude, Handel, Bach_, in the Peter's Annual, 1902). A
selection (too restricted) of the cantatas has been published in a
volume of the _Denkmäler deutscher Tonkunst_. Pirro is preparing a
longer work on Buxtehude.

[71] Particularly during 1693.

[72] The part played by these free cities, Hamburg, Lubeck, the abodes
of intelligent and adventurous merchants, in the history of German
music, should be specially noticed. The part is analogous to that played
by Venice and Florence in Italian painting and music.

[73] There are about 150 manuscripts in the libraries of Lubeck, Upsala,
Berlin, Wolfenbüttel, and Brussels.

[74] His organ music bears witness to his mastery in this style.

[75] See the penetrating intimacy, the suave melody, of the cantata
_Alles was ihr tut mit Worten oder Werken_, and the tragic grandeur with
such simple means of the magnificent cantata _Gott hilf mir_.

[76] We find on page 167 of the _Denkmäler_ volume, a _Hallelujah_ by
Buxtehude for 2 clarini (trumpets), 2 violins, 2 violas, violoncello,
organ, and 5 vocal parts, which is pure Handel, and very beautiful.

[77] Mattheson adds: "I know with certainty that if he reads these
pages, he will laugh up his sleeve, but outwardly he laughs little."

[78] Amongst others, the subject from an air in minuet form, which he
repeated exactly in the minuet of his overture to _Samson_.

[79] In the same week, Keiser and the poet Hunold gave another Passion,
_The Bleeding and Dying Jesus_, which made a scandal: for he had treated
the subject in the manner of an opera, suppressing the chorales, the
chief songs, and the person of the evangelist and his story. Handel and
Postel more prudently only suppressed the songs, but reserved the text
of the evangelist.

[80] This criticism, certainly written in 1704, was repeated by
Mattheson in his musical journal, _Critica Musica_, in 1725, and even
twenty years later on, in his _Wollkommene Kapellmeister_, in 1740.

[81] The two young men had charge of the education of the English
Ambassador's son, Mattheson in the position of chief tutor, Handel as
music master. Mattheson took advantage of the situation to inflict on
Handel a humiliating rebuke. Handel revenged himself by ridiculing
Mattheson, whose _Cleopatra_ was being given at the Opera. Mattheson
conducted the orchestra from the clavier, and took the _rôle_ of Antony
as well. When he played the part he left the clavier to Handel, but
after Antony had died, an hour before the end of the play, Mattheson
returned in theatrical costume to the clavier, so as not to miss the
final ovations. Handel, who had submitted to this little comedy for the
first two representations, refused on the third to give his chair to
Mattheson. In the end they came to fisticuffs. The story is told in a
rather confusing manner by Mattheson in his _Ehrenpforte_, and by
Mainwaring, who sided with Handel.

[82] _Der in Krohnen erlangte Glücks-Wechsel, oder Almira Konigen von
Castilien_ (The Adventures of the Fortune of the Kings, or Almira, Queen
of Castile). The libretti was drawn from a comedy by Lope de Vega by a
certain Feustking, whose scandalous life Chrysander has recorded, and
also the battle of the ribald pamphlets with Barthold Feind on the
subject of this piece. Keiser ought to have written the music of
_Almira_, but, being too occupied with his business and his amusements,
he handed the book over to Handel.

Once for all I will say here that the exigences of this book will not
allow of any analysis of Handel's operas. I hope to give detailed
analyses of them in another book on Handel and his times (_Musiciens
d'autrefois_, Second Series).

[83] _Die durch Blut und Mord erlangte Liebe, oder Nero_ (Love obtained
by blood and crime, or Nero), poem by Feustking. Mattheson played the
part of Nero. The musical score is lost.

[84] In 1703 Handel returned his mother the allowance which she made
him, and added thereto certain presents for Christmas. In 1704, 1705 and
1706 he saved two hundred ducats for his travels in Italy.

[85] The new Nero was played under the title of _Die Romische Unruhe,
oder die edelmüthige Octavia_ (The troubles of Rome, or the magnanimous
Octavia). The score has been republished in the supplements to the
Complete Handel Edition by Max Seiffert with Breitkopf. _Almira_ took
the title: _Der Durchlanchtige Secretarius, oder Almira, Königen in
Castilien_ (His Excellency the Secretary, or Almira, Queen of Castile).

Besides these two works, Keiser wrote in two years, seven operas, the
finest he had done, an evident proof of his genius, which, however,
lacked the character and dignity worthy of it.

[86] Under the title _Componimenti Musicali_, 1706, Hamburg.

[87] For the space of two years no one knew what had become of him, for
he had taken care to elude the restraint of his creditors. At the
beginning of 1709 he quietly reappeared in Hamburg, took up again his
post and his glory, without anyone dreaming of reproaching him, but then
Handel was no longer at Hamburg.

[88] Besides the operas, and his _Passion_, Handel wrote at Hamburg a
large number of cantatas, songs, and clavier works. Mainwaring assures
us that he had two cases full of them. Mattheson doubts the truth of
this statement, but the ignorance which he shows on this subject only
goes to prove his growing estrangement from Handel, for we have since
found both in his clavier book, etc. (Volume XLVIII of the complete
works), and in the Sonatas (Volume XXVII) a number of compositions which
certainly date from the Hamburg period 1705 or 1706.

[89] He was the last of the Medici. He came to the title in 1723, but
after several years of brilliant rule he retired into solitude, sick in
body and in spirit (see Reumont: _Toscana_, and Robiony: _Gli Ultimi dei

[90] Later on Handel said after he had been to Italy that he never had
imagined that Italian music, which appears so ordinary and empty on
paper, could make such a good effect in the theatre itself.

[91] Mr. R. A. Streatfeild believes that he even stayed in Florence
until October, 1706, for the Prince Gastone dei Medici, who ought to
have presented him to the Grand Duke, left Florence in November, 1706.
He also places in this first sojourn in Florence the production of
Handel's _Roderigo_, of which all precise records in the archives of the
Medicis and the papers of the time are lost. I am more inclined to
follow the traditional opinion that _Roderigo_ dates from Handel's
second stay in Florence, when he commenced to work in the Italian
language and style.

[92] Bartolommeo Christofori, inventor of the pianoforte, made several
very interesting instruments for him.

[93] April 2, 1706.

[94] April 23, 1707. See Edward Dent: _Alessandro Scarlatti_.

[95] Volume LI of the Complete Works. It was pretended at the time that
this _Lucretia_ was written by one Lucretia, a singer at the court of
Tuscany, who showed Handel for the first time the great beauty of the
Italian song--and of the Italians.

[96] The whole of Europe in the commencement of the eighteenth century
had passed through a vogue of Pietism. Historians have scarcely paid
sufficient attention to local influences. It was thus that they
attributed the reawakening of the religious spirit in France entirely to
the influence of Louis XIV. Analogous phenomena were produced in Italy,
in Germany, and in England, at the same time. There were great moral
forces awakening, which, one cannot exactly say why, suddenly broke out
over the whole of the civilized world like a stroke of fever.

[97] A _Dixit Dominus_ is dated April 4, 1707; a _Laudate Pueri_, July
8, 1707.

[98] A letter from Annibale Merlini to Ferdinando dei Medici, recently
published by Mr. Streatfeild, says that on September 24, 1707, the
famous Saxon (_Il Sassone famoso_), as Handel was already called, was
still enchanting hearers in the musical evenings at Rome.

[99] Both Mr. Ademollo, in an article in the _Nuova Antologia_, July 16,
1889, and Mr. Streatfeild, have established the true name of the chief
singer in _Roderigo_. Thus the romantic story believed ever since
Chrysander of Handel's love for the famous Vittoria Tesi has been
destroyed. She was only seven years old in 1707, and did not come out
until 1716.

[100] Occasionally in St. Mark's there were six orchestras, two large
ones in the galleries with the two grand organs, four smaller ones
distributed in pairs in the lower galleries, each with two small organs.

[101] Mainwaring relates that Handel arrived _incognito_ at Venice, and
that he was discovered in a masquerade where he was playing the clavier.
Domenico Scarlatti cried out that it must either be the celebrated
Saxon, or the devil. This story, which shows that Handel was celebrated
already as a virtuoso, accords very well with his taste for mystifying
people, a marked trait in his character.

[102] This appears thoroughly established by recent researches, and
contradicts the statement of Chrysander that Handel's _Agrippina_ had
been played at the commencement of 1708 at Venice. All the documents of
that time agree in placing the first production of _Agrippina_ at the
end of 1709 or at the beginning of 1710.

[103] An autograph cantata by Handel, which is found in London, was
dated Rome, March 3, 1708.

[104] This Academy was founded at Rome in 1690 for the production and
exposition of popular poetry and rhetoric.

[105] Amongst the "shepherds" of Arcadia were counted four Popes
(Clement XI, Innocent XIII, Clement XII, Benoit XIII), nearly all the
sacred colleges, the Princes of Bavaria, Poland, Portugal; the Queen of
Poland, the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, and a crowd of great lords and

[106] Scarlatti under the name of Terpandro; Corelli under that of
Archimelo; Pasquini as Protico; Marcello as Dryanti. Handel was not
inscribed on the Arcadia list because he was not yet of the regulation
age, twenty-four years.

[107] Cardinal Ottoboni was a Venetian, and nephew of the Pope Alexander
VIII. A good priest, very benevolent, and ostentatious art patron whose
prodigalities were celebrated even in England, where Dryden eulogised
them in 1691 in the Prologue of Purcell's _King Arthur_. He was a great
_dilettante_, and even wrote an opera himself, _Il Columbo, overo
l'India scoperta_, 1691. Alessandro Scarlatti set to music his libretto
of _Statira_, and composed for him his _Rosaura_, and his _Christmas
Oratorio_. He was particularly intimate with Corelli, who lived with

[108] Corelli took the first violin, and Francischiello, the

[109] At one meeting of the Arcadia in April, 1706, Alessandro Scarlatti
seated himself at the keyboard, whilst the poet Zappi improvised a poem.
Hardly had Zappi finished reciting the last verse than Scarlatti
improvised music on the verses--similarly at Ottoboni's house Handel
improvised many secular cantatas whilst the Cardinal Panfili improvised
the verses. It is related that one of these poems constituted a
Dithyrambic eulogy, and that Handel, unperturbed, amused himself by
setting it to music, and doubtless singing it.

[110] The manuscript of _The Resurrection_ bears this superscription:
April 11, 1708, _La Festa de Pasque dal Marche Ruspoli_ (The Easter
Festival at the Marquis Ruspoli's).

[111] They occupy four volumes in the great Breitkopf edition--two
volumes of cantatas, of solo cantatas, with single bass for clavier, and
two volumes of cantatas _Con stromenti_, of which certain are serenatas
for two or three parts.

[112] The _Armida abbandonata_. The copy, very carefully penned in the
writing of Bach, is now lodged in the house of Breitkopf.

[113] It is related that at one of the Ottoboni evenings there was a
contest on the clavier and on the organ between Domenico Scarlatti and
Handel. The result was undecided on the clavier, but for the organ
Scarlatti himself was the first to declare Handel the victor. After
that, whenever Scarlatti spoke of him he always made the sign of the

[114] Scarlatti was attached to the Royal Chapel of Naples as principal
Organist in December, 1708. Then he was reinstated in this post in
January, 1709, and in the course of the same year he was nominated
master of the Conservatoire of _Poveri di Gesù Cristo_.

[115] All his life one of his chief hobbies--as with Corelli and
Hasse--was to visit picture galleries. It is necessary to note this
visual intelligence with the great German and Italian musicians of this
period, since one does not find it with those of the end of the
eighteenth century.

[116] One of his cantatas is preserved, _Cantata spagnola a voce sola a
chitarra_ (Spanish Cantata for solo voice and guitar, published in the
second volume of Italian cantatas _Con stromenti_), and seven French
songs in the style of Lully, with accompaniment of Figured Bass for the
clavier. One copy of these songs is found in the Conservatoire Library,
Paris (Fonds Schoelcher).

[117] One of them forms the inspiration for the Pastoral Symphony of
_The Messiah_. Handel also acquired in Italy his taste for the
Siciliano, which became the rage in Naples, and which he used, after
_Agrippina_, in nearly all his operas, and even in his oratorios.

[118] The _Acis and Galatea_ of 1708 has no relation to the one of 1720,
but in taking up the later work in 1732 Handel made a rearrangement of
his Italian serenade, and gave it in London, mingling with it the
English airs of his other _Acis_.

[119] Concerning Steffani, see page 51 and following. It seems quite
compatible with this meeting with Handel at Rome in 1709 to relate the
story made by Handel of a concert at Ottoboni's, where Steffani supplied
the improvisation of one of the chief singers with a consummate art.
Chrysander places this story at the time of the second Italian journey
of Handel in 1729, but that is impossible, for Steffani died in
February, 1728.

[120] That is to say on December 26, 1709. That is the date which the
recent researches of Mr. Ademollo and Mr. Streatfeild have established
in accordance with the indications of the contemporary histories of
Handel by Mattheson, Marpurg, and Burney, of the date inscribed on the
_libretto_ itself. This contradicts the statement of Chrysander adopted
on his authority by most of the musical writers of our own time, stating
that _Agrippina_ was played at Venice in the Carnival of 1708.

[121] There was so much probability of this that he tried his hand on
the French vocal style by writing seven French songs, of which the
manuscript was carefully revised by him, for the sheets contain
evidences of a close revision in pencil. How changed things would have
been there if he had really come and settled in the interregnum between
Lully and Rameau. He had that quality which none of the French musicians
possessed--a superabundance of music, and he had not that which they had
got--lucid intelligence and a penetration into the true need of the
musical drama and its possibilities. (It was at that time that Lecerf de
la Viéville wrote his _Comparaison de la musique française et de la
musique italienne_, of which certain pages forestall the musical creed
of Gluck.) If Handel had come to France, I am convinced that that reform
would have been brought about sixty years sooner, and with a wealth of
music which Gluck never possessed.

[122] It is the language which he used in his correspondence, even with
his own family, and his style, always very correct, had the fine
courtesy of the court of Louis XIV.

[123] _Esther, Athalie, Theodore, Vierge d'Martyre._

[124] Even in 1734 Séré de Rieux wrote of Handel: "His composition,
infinitely clever and gracious, seems to approach nearer to our taste
than any other in Europe" (p. 29 of _Enfants de Latone_, poems dedicated
to the King). Handel particularly pleased the French because his
Italianism was always restrained by reason, and French musicians loved
to think that logic was totally French.

"Son caractère fort, nouveau, brillant, égal,
Du sens judicieux suit la constante trace,
Et ne s'arme jamais d'une insolente audace."

_Ibid._ (pp. 102-3.)

[125] See the book abounding in picturesque documents by Georg Fischer,
_Musik in Hannover_, Second Edition, 1903.

[126] In 1676, Leibnitz was then thirty years old. He received the title
of Councillor and President of the Library at the Castle.

[127] Moreover, by the quaintnesses of the Treaties of Westphalia, this
Protestant Princess found herself under the care of the Catholic Bishop
of Osnabruck.

[128] Madame Arvède Barine has given an amusing portrait of her,
although a little severe, in her charming studies on _Madame Mère du
Regent_, 1909 (Hachette). See particularly the Memoirs of the Duchess
Sophia, written by the same author in French.

[129] Thus a French traveller, the Abbé Tolland, in 1702, expresses it.

[130] Created Duke in 1680, he left the same year for Venice. He
returned there at the end of 1684, and remained there until about
August, 1685. He returned three months later, in December, and only left
it in September, 1686. He lived at the palace Foscarini, with a numerous
following, his ministers, his poets, his musicians, his chapel. He spent
enormous sums. He gave _fêtes_ to the Venetians, and took boxes by the
year in five theatres in Venice. In return he lent his subjects as
soldiers to Venice; and his son, Maximilian, was a General in the
Republic. When the Grand Marshal of the Court of Hanover wrote to the
Prince of the discontent of his people, Ernest Augustus answered: "I
very much wish that Monsieur the Grand Marshal would come here, then he
would no longer write so often to me about coming home. M. the Grand
Marshal can have no idea how amusing it is here, and if he only came
once he would never want to return to Germany."

[131] Barthold Feind says in 1708: "Of all the German opera houses, the
Leipzig one is the poorest, that of Hamburg the largest, the Brunswick
the most perfect, and that of Hanover the most beautiful." The Opera of
Hanover had four tiers of boxes, and was capable of accommodating 1300

[132] The orchestra was composed chiefly of French musicians, and they
were conducted by a Frenchman, Jean Baptiste Farinel, son-in-law of

[133] A. Einstein and Ad. Sanberger have just republished in the
_Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Bayern_ a selection of Steffani's works.
Arthur Neisser has devoted a little book to Steffani. Apropos of one of
his operas _Servio Tullio_, Leipzig, 1902. See also the studies of
Robert Eitner in the _Allg. Deutsche Biographie_; of Chrysander in his
_Haendel_ (Volume I), and also Fischer in his _Musik in Hannover_.

[134] Munich had become the centre of Italian music in Germany since the
Prince-Elector Ferdinand had married in 1652 an Italian princess,
Adelaide of Savoy. See Ludwig Schiedermair: _Die Anfange der Münchener
Oper_ (_Sammelb. der I.M.G._, 1904).

[135] In 1680.

[136] One finds the list of Steffani's operas, together with an analysis
of the _Servio Tullio_, in the book of Arthur Neisser.

[137] This opera was played for the fifth centenary of the Siege of
Bardwick by Henry Lion-heart in 1089. The Elector of Brandenburg was at
the first representation. Steffani treated other German subjects, such
as the _Tassilone_ of 1709.

[138] The manuscripts of most of these operas are preserved in the
libraries of Berlin, Munich, London, Vienna, and Schwerin. It is
astonishing that they have never been published, notwithstanding their
importance in the history of German opera. Chrysander has given some
specimens of the _libretti_. The music has only been slightly studied by
Neisser, who makes the mistake of not knowing the music of the
contemporaries of Steffani, and in consequence is frequently at fault in
his appreciation of him.

[139] Leibnitz neither, although he had certain intuition of what was
possible in this style of theatre-piece, which united all the means of
expression: beauty of words, of rhymes, of music, of paintings and
harmonious gestures (letter of 1681). In general he regarded music from
the attitude of our Encyclopædists at the time of Rameau. His musical
ideal was simple melody. "I have often remarked," says he, "that men of
note have little esteem for things which are touching. Simplicity often
makes more effect than elaborate ornaments" (letter to Henfling).

[140] The testimony of his contemporaries agrees in depicting him as a
man of agreeable physique, small, of a debilious constitution, which the
excess of study had aggravated, of a superior nature, but altogether
lovable in his manners, full of wit and of gentleness, clear and calm in
speech, possessing exquisite tact and perfect politeness, from which he
never departed, an accomplished man of the court, and further very well
informed, passionately interested in philosophy and mathematics.
Leibnitz taught him German political law. We find in Fischer's _Musik in
Hannover_ a reproduction of a very rare portrait of Steffani in an
episcopal costume.

[141] Bishop _in partibus_. Spiga was a district in the Spanish West

[142] He ended by abdicating his post as Vicar, which cost him more
annoyance than pleasure. He travelled afresh in Italy in 1722. In 1724
he was nominated President for life of the Academy of Ancient Music,
founded in London by his pupil, Galliard. He dedicated to the Academy
several of his compositions, but since he was made Bishop he no longer
signed them; they appeared under the name of his secretary, Lagorio
Piva. He returned to Hanover in 1725, after having lived on a grander
scale than his revenues sufficed to maintain. He became embarrassed, and
had to sell his beautiful collection of pictures and statuary, among
which were found, it is said, some of Michael Angelo's. The English king
settled some of his debts. Steffani died of apoplexy in the middle of a
journey to Frankfort on February 12, 1728.

[143] A little work by him in the form of a letter is known. It is
entitled _Quanta certezza habbia de suoi Principii la Musica et in qual
pregio fosse perciò presso gli Antichi_, and was published in 1695 at
Amsterdam. Again in 1700 in German. He therefore advanced the value of
music not only as an art, but also as a science.

[144] His singing was celebrated. If his voice was feeble, the purity
and finish of his style, his delicate and chaste expression, were
incomparable, if we are to believe Handel.

[145] They caused in truth a grand gathering of singers. _Servius
Stallius_ alone required twenty-five, of which six were sopranos
(Nicer). _Op. cit._

[146] On the other hand, the symphonic pieces, and particularly the
overtures, are in the Lully style, and afforded the models for Handel.
The French style reigned in the orchestra at Hanover. Telemann says, "at
Hanover is the art of French science."

[147] Steffani seems to have written these duets as music master of the
Court ladies, and several were composed for the Electress of
Brandenburg, Sophia Dorothea. The poems were the work of the great
lords, or the Italian Abbés. These duets were regarded in their time as
masterpieces, and numerous copies were made of them. One finds the
bibliography in the first volume of choice works of Steffani published
by Breitkopf by A. Einstein and A. Zanberger. The Paris Conservatoire
alone possesses six volumes of manuscript duets by Steffani.

[148] See the airs _Lungi dall'idol_, _Occhi perche piangete_, and
particularly _Forma un mare_, which offer a striking analogy to one of
the more beautiful _lieder_ of Philip Heinrich Erlebach: _Meine Seufzer_
(published by Max Friedlander in his History of the Song of the
Eighteenth Century). There is every reason to believe that Steffani
afforded one of the models for Erlebach.

One should notice the predilection of Steffani (like the great Italians
of his time) for chromaticism and his contrapuntal taste. Steffani was
one of the artists of the time nearest to the spirit of the ancient
music, yet opening the way to the new, and it was characteristic that he
was chosen as President of the Academy of Ancient Music of London, which
took for its models the art of Palestrina and the Madrigalians of the
end of the sixteenth century. I do not doubt that Handel learnt much,
even in this, from Steffani.

[149] Henry Purcell was born about 1658, and died in 1695.

[150] See the Prelude or the Dance in _Dioclesian_ and the overture to

[151] English art has never produced anything more worthy of being
placed side by side with the masterpieces of the Italian art than the
scene of Dido's death.

[152] _King Arthur_: Grand Dance, or final Chaconne; _Dioclesian_: trio
with final chorus.

[153] Particularly the famous song of St. George in _King Arthur_--"St.
George, the patron of our isle, a soldier and a saint."

[154] It was no longer French influence, which, very powerful at the
time of the Stuarts, had very nearly disappeared during the Revolution
of 1688; but the Italian.

[155] The celebrated pamphlet of the priest Jeremias Collier appeared in
1688: "A short view of the immorality and profaneness of the English
stage with the sense of Antiquity," had made an epoch because it
expressed with an ardent conviction the hidden feelings of the nation.
Dryden, the first, did humble penitence.

[156] See the Preface to his _Amphion Britannicus_ in 1700. Blow died in

[157] There had been several efforts on the part of Italian opera
companies in London under the Restoration of 1660 and 1674. None had
succeeded, but certain Italians were installed in London, and had some
success: about 1667 G. B. Draghi, about 1677 the violinist Niccolo
Matteis, who spread the knowledge in English of the instrumental works
of Vitali and of Bassani; the family of Italian singers, Pietro Reggio
de Gênes, and the famous Siface (Francesco Grossi), who in 1687 was the
first to give Scarlatti in London; Marguerita de l'Espine, who during
1692 gave Italian concerts; but it was in 1702 that the infatuation for
the Italians commenced.

[158] He was the brother of the celebrated Bononcini (Giovanni).

[159] This was _Rosamunde_, played in 1707, which had only three
representations. Addison, very little of a musician, had taken as his
collaborator the insipid Clayton. His satires against the Italian opera
appeared in March and April, 1710, in the _Spectator_.

[160] The struggle was put into evidence in 1708, three years before the
Haymarket Theatre was founded under the patronage of the Queen, by the
poet Congreve, who gave there the old English plays. In 1708 the English
drama left the place and opera installed itself.

[161] Two German musicians established in England, and naturalized, Dr.
Christoph Pepusch and Nichilo Francesco Haym, pushed certain of their
compositions on to the Italian opera stage in London. They were found
there later. Pepusch, founder of the Academy of Ancient Music in 1710,
was badly disposed against Handel, whose operas he ridiculed in the
famous _Beggars' Opera_ of 1728. Haym, who wished to publish in 1730 a
great history of music, was one of Handel's librettists.

The Library of the Paris Conservatoire possessed a volume of airs from
the principal Italian operas displayed in London from 1706 to 1710
(London, Walsh).

[162] When the poet Barthold Feind gave in 1715 the translation of
_Rinaldo_ at Hamburg, he did not neglect to call him the universally
celebrated Mr. Handel, known to the Italians as "_l'Orfeo del nostro
secolo_" and "_un ingegno sublime_."

[163] He did not hurry. He stayed at Düsseldorf with the Elector
Palatine (A. Einstein, etc., April, 1907), then in the later months of
the year he went to see his family at Halle.

[164] To speak truly, they were more like little cantatas than _lieder_.
The Collection Schoelcher in the Library of the Paris Conservatoire
possesses these copies.

[165] Volumes XXVII and XLVIII of the Complete Handel Edition.

[166] One sees by the letters of 1711 that Handel applied himself, even
in Germany, to perfecting his knowledge of English.

[167] The House of Hanover was, as one knows, an aspirant for the
succession to the throne of England, and it behoved it to keep on good
terms with Queen Anne, who was partial to Handel.

[168] For his second version of this work in 1734 he then added some

[169] It is the only opera of Handel's which is in five acts. The poem
was by Haym.

[170] Purcell had written in 1694 a _Te Deum_ and _Jubilate_.

[171] He wrote, it is said, for the little amateur theatre of Burlington
an opera _Silla_, 1714, of which he reproduced the best parts in
_Amadigi_. One can also date from this time a certain number of clavier
pieces, which appeared in a volume in 1720.

[172] The legend records that Handel composed in August, 1715, the
famous Water Music to regain the favour of the King. Installed on a
boat, with a small "wind" orchestra, he had this work performed during
one of the King's state processions on the Thames. The King was
delighted, and renewed his friendship with Handel. Unfortunately, the
Water Music appears to have been written two years later than the return
to Court of Handel, and the scene placed by Chrysander on August 22,
1715, in his first volume--in October, 1715, by Fischer, _Musik in
Hannover_--is changed by Chrysander in his third volume to July 17,
1717, with a cutting from one of the newspapers of that time, which does
not seem, however, convincing to the others. Be that as it may, the work
is from this period, and the first publication of it appeared about

[173] Keiser in 1712, _Der für die Sünden der Welt gemarterte und
sterbende Jesus_ (Jesus Crucified and Dying for the Sins of the World).
Then Telemann in 1716, some months after Handel's arrival; a little
later, Mattheson. Handel's _Passion_ was executed for the first time at
Hamburg during Lent 1717, when Handel had already returned to England.
The four Passions of Keiser, Telemann, Mattheson, and Handel, were given
in 1719 at the Hamburg Cathedral, Mattheson being choirmaster.

[174] Handel and Mattheson exchanged some correspondence. Mattheson was
about to engage in a musical polemic with the organist and theorist,
Buttstedt. He proved the need of building on the sound foundations of
the German music. He proposed a suggestion for an enquiry on the Greek
modes of Solmisation. Handel, pressed on these questions, responded
tardily in 1719; he sided with Mattheson, a declared modernist against
the old modal period. Mattheson also asked for details of his life for
the purpose of including him in his biographical dictionary which he had
in view. Handel excused himself on account of the concentration
necessary. He merely promised in a vague manner to relate later on the
principal stages which he had taken in the course of his profession, but
Mattheson drew nothing more from this source.

[175] At the end of 1716. In the course of this sojourn in Germany,
where he had assisted the widow of his former master, Zachau, then
fallen into great poverty, he also succoured at Anspach an old
University friend, Johann Christoph Schmidt, who carried on a woollen
business, and who left all--fortune, wife, and child--to follow him to
London. Schmidt remained attached to Handel all his life, conducting his
business affairs for him, recopying his manuscripts, taking care of his
music, and afterwards his son, Schmidt (or Smith) Junior, took on the
same good offices with equal devotion, a striking instance of the
attractive powers which Handel excited on others.

[176] The Duke of Chandos was a Croesus, enriched in his office of
Paymaster-General to the army in the reign of Queen Anne, and by his
vast speculations in the South Sea Company. He built a magnificent
castle at Cannons, a few miles from London. He had the _entourage_ of a
prince, and was surrounded by a guard of a hundred Swiss soldiers. His
ostentation, indeed, was a little ridiculous. Pope made fun of it.

[177] The Anthems occupied three volumes of the Complete Handel edition.
The third is reserved for the later works of this epoch, with which we
are concerned here. The two first volumes contained eleven Chandos
anthems, of which two have a couple of versions and one has three.
Handel wrote at the same time three _Te Deums_.

[178] Masques were secular compositions very much in the fashion in
England at the time of the Stuarts. They were part played and part
danced, as theatre plays, and partly sung as concert pieces (see Paul
Reyher: _Les_, etc., Paris, 1909).

Handel took up his _Esther_ in 1732 and recast it. The first _Esther_
had a single part, it comprised six scenes. The second _Esther_ had
three acts, each preceded and terminated by a full chorus in the ancient
manner. Some have asserted that the poem was by Pope.

[179] Later on, when he took up this work again in 1733, he called it an
English opera.

[180] The pretty poem is by Gay.

[181] This was a society with a capital of £50,000 by shares of £100
subscribed for fourteen years, each share giving the use of one seat in
the theatre. At the head of it, as President, was the Lord Chamberlain,
Duke of Newcastle. (Until 1723, when he entered the Ministry, and was
replaced by the Duke of Grafton.) The second President, the real
director, was Lord Bingley. He was assisted on the Council of
Administration by twenty-four directors re-elected yearly. The whole
scheme was under the protection of the King, who paid £1000 a year for
his box. The dividends paid to the shareholders reached in 1724 7%, but
speculation endangered the work, and indeed led to its ruin.

Handel was charged with the complete musical direction until 1728, when
he took on his shoulders the whole direction of the opera, financial and

[182] This voyage took place from February, 1719, to the end of the same
year. When Handel was staying at Halle, J. S. Bach, who was then at
Cothen, about four miles away, was informed of it, and went there to see
him, but he only arrived at Halle the very day when Handel was about to
leave. Such at least is the story of Forkel.

[183] The poem was by Haym. From 1722 the work was given at Hamburg with
a translation of Mattheson.

[184] Before him Domenico Scarlatti had already visited London, where he
had given unsuccessfully an opera, _Narcissus_, 1720.

[185] He was born in 1671 or 1672, for his first opus appeared in 1684
or 1685, when he was little more than thirteen years old.

Giovanni Bononcini was far from being well known. He was not a
celebrated musician, on which account there are many disagreements.
Bononcini was the name of a long string of musicians, and one has been
frequently confounded with the other. Such mistakes are found even in
the critical work of Eitner (where they rest on a great error in
reading) and in the most recent Italian works, as that of Luigi Torchi,
who in his instrumental music in Italy, 1901, confounds all the
Bononcini together. Luigi Francesco Valdreghi's monograph _I Bononcini
in Modena_, 1882, is more reliable, although very incomplete.

[186] Gianmaria Bononcini was Chapel-Master of the Cathedral of Modena,
and attached to the service of Duke Francis II. A fine violinist, author
of instrumental sonatas in suites, to which Mr. Torchi and Sir Hubert
Parry attribute great historical importance. He had a reflective spirit,
and dedicated in 1673 to the Emperor Leopold I a treatise on Harmony and
Counterpoint, entitled _Musico Practico_, which was afterwards
reprinted. He died in 1678, less than forty years old.

[187] Several of his early works are dedicated to Francis II of Modena,
and his 8th opus, _Duetti da Camera_, 1691, is dedicated to the Emperor
Leopold I, who caused him to be engaged for the Court Chapel.

[188] He was a celebrated violoncellist.

[189] Alfred Ebert: _Attilo Ariosto in Berlin_, 1905, Leipzig.

[190] See Lecerf de la Viéville: _Eclaircissement sur Bononcini_,
published in the 3rd part of his _Comparaison de la musique française
avec la musique italienne_ (1706).

[191] "Like Corelli," says Lecerf, "he had a few fugues, contra fugues,
based on conceits, frequently in other Italian works, and he made many
delicious things from all the lesser used intervals, the most valiant
and the most strange. His dissonances struck fear."

[192] See the gentle suspension of notes in the Cantata _Dori e Aminta_
(manuscript in the Library of the Conservatoire of Paris), or the
_Cantata Care luci (ibid.)_.

[193] "What is necessary in music," said _The London Journal_ of
February 24, 1722, "is that it should chase away _ennui_, and relieve
clever men from the trouble of thinking."

[194] It is the eternal struggle between the art of knowledge and the
pseudo-popular art. It recurred again a little later with Rousseau. The
principal difference between the two phases of the strife is that in the
epoch with which we are occupied the champion of the anti-learned art
was a well-instructed musician who did not uphold his cause by
ignorance, but by laziness and by profligacy.

[195] "To study this more closely," says Hugo Goldschmidt (_Vocal
Ornamentation_, 1908), "Bononcini's songs are really _lieder_, to which
is applied, for good or evil, the old form of the Aria Da Capo, or the
Cavatina: the taste for little airs in the form of a song spread itself
widely during the end of the seventeenth century in Germany and in
England." Bononcini, who was always led naturally by fashion, and by his
indolent facility, abandoned himself to it still more in England, and
suited it to the English taste.

[196] The work had already been given in Italy about 1714. It was then
that Lord Burlington heard it, and became the champion of Bononcini when
he decided to come to England.

[197] Handel wrote the third act, Bononcini the second, the first had
been already set by a certain Signor Pippo (Phillipo Matti?).

[198] The victory of Handel began for the most part with the engagement
of his new interpreter, Francesca Cuzzoni, of Parma, a great and
vigorous artist, violent and passionate, whose excellent soprano voice
excelled particularly in pathetic _cantabile_ music. She was twenty-two
years old, and came to London, where she made her début in _Ottone_. Her
quarrels with Handel, and how he treated her by threatening to throw her
out of the window, are well known.

Handel gave again in May another opera, _Flavio_, of little importance.
On his side Bononcini produced _Erminia and Attilio_, _Aristosi_,
_Coreolanus_, in which the prison scene reduced the ladies to tears, and
inspired numerous analogous scenes in the following operas of Handel.

[199] Bononcini gave his last piece, _Kalfernia_, on April 18, 1724.
Ariosti says possibly in 1725. On the other hand, in 1725 there
commenced to be played in London the works of Leonardo Vinci, and
Porpora, patronized by Handel himself.

[200] Faustina Bordoni was born in 1700 at Venice. She had been educated
in the school of Marcello. In 1730 she married Hasse. Her singing had an
incredible agility. No one could repeat the same note with such
rapidity, and she seemed able to hold on sounds to any extent. Less
concentrated and less profound than Cuzzoni, she had an art more moving
and brilliant.

[201] Two months before Handel had given the opera _Scipione_ (March 12,

[202] The Director of the Drury Lane Theatre, Colley Cibber, produced, a
month later, a farce called _The Contretemps, or The Rival Queens_,
where the two singers were depicted tearing their chignons, and Handel
saying in anger to them, whom he wished to separate, "Leave them alone,
when they are tired their fury will spend itself out," and, in order
that the strife might be definitely finished, he wound it up with great
strokes on the drum. Handel's friend, Dr. Arbuthnot, also published on
this subject one of his best pamphlets, "The Devil let loose at St.
James's" (see Chrysander, Volume II).

[203] The last representation at the Academy took place on June 1, 1728,
with _Almeto_.

[204] Amongst others, the accompanied recitative, the air _Da Capo_, the
opera duets, the farewell scenes, the great prison scenes, the
inconsequent ballads. Pepusch even took an air of Handel and parodied
it. In the second act a band of robbers came together in the tavern, and
solemnly defiled before their chiefs to the sound of the March of the
Crusaders' Army in _Rinaldo_--_The Beggar's Opera_, given for the first
time on January 29, 1728, was played all over England, and aroused
violent polemics. Swift became a passionate champion for it. After the
success appeared in the following years a number of operas with
songs--Georgy Kalmas has dedicated a very complete article to _The
Beggar's Opera_ in his _Sammelbände der I.M.G._ (January to March,

[205] The first three books of the _Dunciad_ of Pope appeared in 1728;
_The Voyages of Gulliver_ in 1726. Swift did not forget the musical
folly in his satire on the kingdom of Lilliputia.

[206] The Coronation Anthems comprised four hymns, of which we do not
know the exact order. Handel arranged for their presentation at
Westminster by forty-seven singers, and a very considerable orchestra.

[207] _Riccardo I_, played in November of the same year (see p. 81), was
also a national opera, dedicated to King George II, and celebrating,
_apropos_ of Richard Coeur de Lion, the annals of Old England.

[208] See page 48, note 4, the opinions held by Séré de Rieux.

[209] Séré de Rieux: _les Dons les infants de Latone; la Musique et la
Chasse du cerf_, poems dedicated to the King, 1734, Paris, p. 102-3.

[210] During this voyage, where he sojourned a considerable time at
Venice, he learned that his mother was stricken with paralysis. He
hastened to Halle, so that he might see her again, but she could no
longer see him. For several years she had been blind. She died the
following year, December 27, 1730. Whilst Handel was at Halle watching
over his mother, he received a visit from Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, who
came on behalf of his father, to invite him to come to Leipzig. One can
well understand that Handel declined the invitation under his sad

[211] Born in 1690 at Strongoli in Calabria, he died in 1730. He was the
master of the Chapel Royal at Naples, where he preceded Pergolesi and
Hasse. I have spoken of Vinci in another volume.

[212] _Acis and Galatea_ was reproduced in 1731, then given again in
1732, at the Haymarket Theatre, with the scenery and costumes, under the
title of _An English Pastoral Opera_. The representation had taken place
without the consent of Handel, who in response to the event, gave the
work himself a little later. As for _Esther_, a member of the Academy of
Ancient Music, Bernard Gates who had formerly sung in the piece at the
Duke of Chandos' and who possessed a copy of it, produced it at the
Hostelry of the Crown and Anchor, on February 23, 1732. In his turn
Handel directed the work on May 2, 1732, at the Haymarket Theatre, under
the title of English _Oratorio_. These presentations did not appease the
interest of the public.

[213] In the "first place there were in all," said a pamphlet, "260
persons, of whom many had free tickets, and others were even paid to
come." Handel tried to give the work again at reduced prices. This
brought him no advantage. The English patrons repeated already their
exultation over the Saxon, and caused him to return to Germany.

[214] _Athaliah_ was written for the University feasts at Oxford, to
which Handel had been invited. They wished to confer on him there the
title of Doctor of Music. One does not know exactly what happened to
Handel, having always refused the honour. It is certain, however, that
Handel did not receive the title.

[215] Bononcini had been received into the Academy of Ancient Music at
London. To secure his footing he offered the Academy in 1728 a Madrigal
in five voices. Unfortunately for him, three years after, a member of
the Academy found this Madrigal in a book of duets, trios, madrigals of
Antonio Lotti, published in 1705 at Venice. Bononcini persisted in
claiming the authorship of the work. A long enquiry was instituted, in
which Lotti himself and a great number of witnesses were examined. The
result was disastrous for Bononcini, who threw up all and disappeared
from London towards the end of 1732--the whole of the correspondence
relating to this affair was published by the Academy in Latin, Italian,
French and English, under the title "Letters from the Academy of Ancient
Music at London to Signor Antonio Lotti of Venice, with answers and
testimonies, London, 1732."

[216] Porpora was the most famous Italian teacher of singing of the
eighteenth century. Hasse was himself a great singer, and married one of
the most celebrated Prima Donnas who ever lived, Faustina.

[217] Contrast with the short and restricted phrases of Benedetto
Marcello in his _Arianna_, the amplitude of Porpora's treatment of the
same subject.

[218] Chrysander, who did not know him well, speaks with a disdain
absolutely unjustifiable.

[219] Handel's _Arianna_, January 26, 1734. Porpora's _Arianna à Naxos_,
a little later.

[220] Thus the Invocation of Theseus to Neptune: _Nume che reggi'l
mare_, and the air: _Spetto d'orrore_.

[221] Johann Adolf Hasse was born March 23, 1699, at Bergedorf, near
Hamburg, and died on December 16, 1783, at Venice. He came to London in
October, 1734, where he gave his _Artaserse_, which was played until
about 1737. He also gave in England his Siroé, 1736, and two comic
_intermezzi_. I do not attach much importance to him, for his life and
his art are a little outside the scope of this work. Despite the efforts
of Handel's enemies, Hasse always avoided posing as the rival of his
great countryman, and their art remains independent of each other. I
will hold over (till some time later on) the study of the work of this
admirable artist, for posterity has been even more unjust to him than to
Porpora, for no one had his wonderful sense of melodic beauty in such a
degree, and in his best pages he is the equal of the very greatest.

[222] She was Handel's pupil and friend. An excellent musician, she
conducted the orchestra at public concerts given by her every evening in

[223] Handel composed for the marriage of the Princess Anne _The Wedding
Anthem_ (March 14, 1734), which is a _pasticcio_ of old works,
especially _Athaliah_. He gave also for the marriage _fêtes_ the
serenata, _Parnasso in festa_, and a revised form of _Pastor Fido_, with

[224] It was John Rich who had produced here the _Beggar's Opera_ of Gay
and Pepusch in 1728--that parody of Handel's operas.

[225] She was the pupil of Mlle Prévost, and made her début in 1725 with
Rich. See the study of M. Emile Dacier: _Une danseuse française a
Londres, au début du XVIII siècle_ (French number of the S.I.M. May and
July, 1907).

[226] It is interesting to notice that it was with the same subjects of
_Pygmalion_ and of _Ariadne_ that J. J. Rousseau and Georg Benda
inaugurated in 1770-1775 the Melodrama or "opera without singing."

[227] He has been accused of knowing it too well. The Abbé Prévost wrote
exactly at this same period in _Le Pour et le Contre_ (1733): "...Certain
critics accuse him of having taken for his basis an infinite number of
beautiful things from Lully, and especially from our French cantatas,
and of having the effrontery of disguising them in the Italian manner...."

[228] "_La Salle_" returned to Paris, where she made her reappearance at
the Académie de Musique in August, 1735, in _les Indes galantes_ of
Rameau. It is quite remarkable that some pages of this work, such as the
superb chaconne at the end, have a character quite Handelian.

[229] _Atalanta_ (May 12, 1736), _Arminio_ (January 12, 1737),
_Giustino_ (February 16, 1737), _Berenice_ (May 18, 1737), _Faramondo_
(January 7, 1738), _Serse_ (April 15, 1738), _Imeneo_ (November 22,
1740), _Deidamia_ (January 10, 1741).

[230] Especially in _Serse_ and _Deidamia_.

[231] Dryden the poet wrote this brilliant poem in 1697 in a night of
inspiration. Clayton had set it to music in 1711; and again about 1720
Benedetto Marcello wrote a cantata in the ancient manner on an Italian
adaptation of the English ode by the Abbé Conti. A friend of Handel,
Newburgh Hamilton, arranged Dryden's poem with great discretion for
Handel's oratorio.

Handel had already written several times in honour of St. Cecilia. Some
fragments of four cantatas to St. Cecilia are to be found in Vol. LII of
the great Breitkopf edition (_Cantate italiane con stromenti_). They
were all written in London, the first about 1713.

[232] _Alexander's Feast_ (January, 1736), _Atalanta_ (April), _Wedding
Anthem_ (April), _Giustino_ (August), _Arminio_ (September), _Berenice_

[233] June 1, 1737. But on June 11 the rival opera also closed its
doors, ruined. Handel, like Samson, dragged down in his own fall the
enemy whom he wished to annihilate.

[234] On November 15, 1737, Handel commenced _Faramondo_; from December
7 to 17 he wrote the _Funeral Anthem_. On December 24 he finished
_Faramondo_. On December 25 he commenced _Serse_.

[235] He said that these kinds of concerts were but a way of begging.

[236] Vauxhall was a beautiful garden on the Thames, the meeting place
of London Society. Every evening except Sunday from the end of April to
the beginning of August, vocal, orchestral, and organ concerts were
given. The manager of these entertainments, Tyers, caused a white marble
statue of Handel by the sculptor Roubiliac to be placed in a niche of a
large grotto. The same sculptor later on executed Handel's statue for
his monument in Westminster Abbey.

[237] In the first part of _Israel in Egypt_ there is not a single solo
air to be found. In the whole work there are nineteen choruses against
four solos and three duets. The poem of _Saul_ which Chrysander at first
attributed to Jennens appears to have been, as he discovered later on,
the work of Newburgh Hamilton. For _Israel_, Handel entirely dispensed
with a librettist, taking the pure Bible text.

[238] Written between September 29 and October 30, 1739. Handel further
prepared in November, 1740, the Second Volume of Organ Concertos (six).
The same month he opened his last season of opera, giving on November 22
_Imeneo_, which was only played twice, and on January 14, 1741,
_Deidamia_, which was only given three times.

[239] Especially in the _Allegro_ and in certain _Concerti Grossi_.

[240] An anonymous letter published in the _London Daily Post_ of April
4, 1741, alludes to a single false step made without premeditation.

[241] In the midst of his misery he still thought of those more
miserable than himself. In April, 1738, he founded with other well-known
English musicians, Arne, Greene, Pepusch, Carey, etc., the Society of
Musicians for the succour of aged and poor musicians. Tormented as he
was himself, he was more generous than all the others. On March 20,
1739, he gave _Alexander's Feast_ with a new Organ Concerto for the
benefit of the Society. On March 28, 1740, he conducted his _Acis and
Galatea_ and his little _Ode on Cecilia's day_. On March 14, 1741, in
his worst days he gave the _Parnasso in festa_, a gala spectacle very
onerous for him with five Solo Concertos by the most celebrated
instrumentalists. Later on he bequeathed £1000 to the Society.

[242] A clumsy friend tried to raise a public charity in an anonymous
letter to the _London Daily Post_ (see above). He made excuses for
Handel, and thus gave the composer the most cruel blow of all. (The
clumsiness of a bear!) This letter is found at the end of Chrysander's
third volume.

[243] On November 4, 1741, he still had time to see, before his
departure, the reopening of the Italian Opera, under the direction of
Galuppi, supported by the English nobility.

[244] Handel wrote the _Messiah_ between August 22 and September 14,
1741. Certain historians have attributed the composition of the
_libretto_ to him. There is no reason for robbing Jennens, a man of
intelligence, author of the excellent poem of _Belshazzar_, of this
honour, and of that shown by the fact that Handel changed none of the
text which Jennens gave him. A letter of March 31, 1745, to a friend
(quoted by Schoelcher) shows that Jennens found the music of the
_Messiah_ hardly worthy of his poem.

[245] The great Musical Society of Dublin, the Philharmonic, gave only
benevolent concerts. For Handel they made a special arrangement. It
suited them that Handel reserved one concert for charity. Handel was
engaged there with gratefulness by promising "some better music." This
"better music" was the _Messiah_. See an article on _Music in Dublin_
from 1730 to 1754 by Dr. W. H. Gratten-Flood, I.M.G. (April-June, 1910).

[246] But not at London, where Handel gave the _Messiah_ only three
times in 1743, twice in 1745, and not again until 1749. The cabals of
the pious tried to stifle it. He was not allowed to put the title of the
oratorio on the bills. It was called A Sacred Oratorio. It was only at
the close of 1750 that the victory of the _Messiah_ was complete. Handel
all his life preserved his connection with charitable objects. He
conducted it once a year for the benefit of the Foundling Hospital. Even
when he was blind he remained faithful to this noble practice, and in
order to better preserve the monopoly of the work for the Hospital he
forbade anyone to publish anything from it before his death.

Since then one knows what a number of editions of the _Messiah_ have
appeared. The Schoelcher collection in the Paris Conservatoire has
brought together sixty-six published between 1763-1869.

[247] The character of Delilah is one of the most complex which Handel
has created, and the parts of Samson and Harapha require exceptional

[248] Milton's poem had been adapted by Newburgh Hamilton.

[249] The Battle of Dettingen took place on June 27, 1743. Handel had
already finished on July 17 his _Te Deum_, which was solemnly performed
on the following November 27 in Westminster Abbey.

[250] Too slowly for the liking of Handel, who composed it bit by bit as
the acts were sent him. There are five letters from him to Jennens dated
June 9, July 19, August 21, September 13 and October 2, 1744, where he
presses him to send at once the rest of the poem, expressing his own
admiration for the second act, which he said provides new means of
expression and furnishes the opportunity of giving some special ideas,
"finally asking him to cut down the work a little, as it was too long"
(see Schoelcher).

[251] Handel wrote it during the forced pauses in the composition of
_Belshazzar_, and produced it at the commencement of 1745.

[252] The letters quite recently published throw much light on this
troublous period in Handel's life (William Barclay-Squire: Handel in
1745, in the H. Riemann Festschrift, 1909, Leipzig).

[253] Two examples of the song appear in the Schoelcher Collection at
the Paris Conservatoire.

Handel also wrote in July, 1746, for the return of the Duke of
Cumberland, a song on the victory over the rebels by His Royal Highness
the Duke of Cumberland, which was given at Vauxhall (a copy of this song
also appears in the Schoelcher Collection).

[254] Finished in the early days of December, 1745, and given in
February, 1746. The text was founded partly on the Psalms of Milton and
partly on the Bible. Handel inserted in the third part several of the
finest pages from _Israel in Egypt_. In one of the solos the principal
theme of Rule Britannia which was later to be composed by Arne appears.

[255] The poem, very mediocre, was by the Rev. Dr. Thomas Morell, who
was the librettist for the last oratorios of Handel.

[256] It was not one of Handel's oratorios, of which the style was in
the popular vein, and where one finds further grand ensembles and solos
closely connected with the Chorus.

Gluck journeyed to London at the end of 1745. He was then thirty-one
years old. He gave two operas in London, _La Caduta de'Giganti_ and
_Artamene_. (Certain solos from them are to be found in the very rare
collection of _Delizie dell'opere_, Vol. II, London, Walsh, possessed by
the library of the Paris Conservatoire.) This journey of Gluck in
England has no importance in the story of Handel, who showed himself
somewhat scornful in his regard for Gluck's music. But it was not so for
Gluck, who all his life professed the most profound respect for Handel.
He regarded him as his master; he even imagined that he imitated him
(see Michael Kelly: _Reminiscences_, I, 255), and certainly one is
struck by the analogies between certain pages in Handel's oratorios
written from 1744 to 1746 (notably _Hercules_ and _Judas Maccabæus_) and
the grand operas of Gluck. We find in the two funeral scenes from the
first and second acts of _Judas Maccabæus_ the pathetic accents and
harmonies of Gluck's _Orpheus_.

[257] After 1747 Handel, abandoning his system of subscriptions, turned
his back on his aristocratic clientèle, which had treated him so
shamefully, and opened his theatre to all. It paid him. The middle
classes of London responded to his appeal. After 1748 Handel had full
houses at nearly all his concerts.

[258] Poem founded on the book of Maccabees by Thomas Morell. The first
performance March 23, 1748.

[259] Poem by Thomas Morell, first performances March 9, 1748.

[260] The poem, apparently, by Thomas Morell, notwithstanding its want
of mention in his notes. First performance March 17, 1749.

[261] The Firework Music has been published in Volume XLVII of the
Complete Handel Edition. For the performance on April 27, 1749, the
orchestra numbered one hundred. Schoelcher has published a
correspondence on the subject of this work between Lord Montague,
General-in-chief of the Artillery, and Charles Frederick, Controller of
the King's fireworks. One sees there that very serious differences arose
between Handel and Lord Montague.

[262] The Foundling Hospital was founded in 1739 by an old mariner,
Thomas Coram, "for the maintainance and education of abandoned
children." Handel devoted himself to this institution, and gave
performances of the _Messiah_ annually for its funds. In 1750 he was
elected a Governor of the Hospital, after he had made it a gift of an

[263] Vol. XXXVI of the Complete Handel Edition. The Foundling Anthem,
of which more than one page is taken from the Funeral Anthem, finishes
with the Hallelujah from the _Messiah_ in its original form.

[264] The libretto was inspired by the _Théodore vierge et martyre_ of

[265] Written between June 28 and July 5, and produced on March 1, to
follow Alexander's feast as "a new act added."

[266] A paragraph in the _General Advertiser_ of August 21, 1750, tells
us that Handel was very seriously hurt between La Haye and Amsterdam,
but that he was already out of danger.

[267] The facsimile of the autograph manuscript was published by
Chrysander, for the second centenary of Handel in 1885.

[268] Page 182 of MS.

[269] To occupy himself he directed two performances of the _Messiah_
for the funds of the Foundling Hospital--on April 18 and May 16, "with
an improvisation on the organ." He also tried the cure at Cheltenham.

[270] Page 244 of MS.

[271] He underwent an operation for cataract, the last time on November
3, 1752. A newspaper stated in January, 1753: "Handel has become
completely blind."

[272] Written in 1708 at Rome.

[273] Handel had already regiven the Italian work with some
rearrangements and editions in 1737. Thomas Morell adapted the poem to
English, and extended the two acts into three.

[274] This will was written since 1750. Handel added codicils to it in
August, 1756, March and August, 1757, April, 1759. He nominated his
niece, Johanna Friderica Floerchen, of Gotha, _née_ Michaelsen, his
sole executor. He made several gifts to his friends--to Christopher
Smith, to John Rich, to Jennens, to Newburgh Hamilton, to Thomas Morell,
and others. He did not forget any of his numerous servants. He left a
fortune of about twenty-five thousand pounds, which he had made entirely
in his last ten years; he possessed also a fine collection of musical
instruments and a picture gallery in which were two Rembrandts.

[275] A monument, somewhat mediocre, was erected to him. It was the work
of Roubiliac, who had already done the statue of Handel for the Vauxhall

[276] They were celebrated in reality a year too soon. Burney devoted a
whole book to describing these festivals.

[277] The number of performers never ceased to increase after the
festivals of 1784, when there were 530 or 540, right up to the famous
festivals in the Sydenham Crystal Palace, when the number reached 1035
in 1854, 2500 in 1857, and 4000 in 1859. Remember that during the
lifetime of Handel the _Messiah_ was performed by thirty-three players
and twenty-three singers. They manufactured for these gigantic
performances some monster instruments; a double bassoon (already
invented in 1727), a special contrabass, some bass trumpets, drums tuned
an octave lower, etc

[278] These arrangements, executed for the Baron van Swieten, are far
from being irreproachable, and show that Mozart, despite the assertions
of Rochlitz, had not a deep understanding of Handel's works. However, he
wrote an "Overture in the style of Handel," and suddenly remembered him
when he composed his _Requiem_.

[279] The first was the Singakademie of Berlin, founded in 1790 by

[280] In the _Harmonicon_ of January, 1824, one finds Beethoven's
opinion (quoted by Percy Robinson): "Handel is the greatest composer who
has ever lived. I should like to kneel at his tomb." And in a letter
from Beethoven to an English lady (published in the _Harmonicon_ of
December, 1825): "I adore Handel." We know that after the 9th Symphony
he had the plan of writing some grand oratorios in the style of Handel.

[281] Schumann wrote to Pohl in 1855, that _Israel in Egypt_ was his
"ideal of a choral work," and, wishing to write a work called _Luther_,
he defined this music thus, of which he found the ideal realized by
Handel: "A popular oratorio that both country and town-people can
understand.... A work of simple inspiration, in which the effect depends
entirely on the melody and the rhythm, without contrapuntal artifice."

Liszt, _apropos_ of the Anthem _Zadock the Priest_, goes into ecstasies
over "the genius of Handel, great as the world itself," and very rightly
perceives in the author of the _Allegro_ and of _Israel_, a precursor of
descriptive music.

[282] See, in Chrysander's work, an article by Emil Krause, in the
_Monatshefte für Musikwissenschaft_, 1904.

[283] A Société G. F. Handel was founded in Paris in 1909, under the
direction of two conductors full of zeal and intelligence, MM. F. Borrel
and F. Raugal. It has already done much to awaken the love of Handel in
France by giving the large works hitherto unknown in France, such as
_Hercules_, the _Foundling Anthem_, and the model performances of the
_Messiah_ at the Trocadero.

[284] Lessing, in the Preface to his _Beiträge zur Historie und Aufnahme
des Theaters_ (1750), gives as the principal characteristic of the
German, "that he appreciates whatever is good, particularly where he
finds it, and when he can turn it to his profit."

[285] See the _Voyage en Italie_, May 18, 1787, letter to Herder.

[286] French Songs (MSS. in Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge): copies in
the Schoelcher Collection, in the library of the Paris Conservatoire.

[287] See the Abbé Prévost: _Le Pour et le Contre_, 1733.

[288] These are not traits special to Handel alone. The double
stream--encyclopædic and learned on the one hand, popular or
pseudo-popular on the other--was found in an even greater degree in
London amongst the musicians of Handel's time. In the circle of the
_Academy of Antient Musick_ there was quite a mania of archaic
eclectism. One of these members, the composer Roseingrave, even went to
the length of having the walls of his rooms and all his furniture
covered with bars of music, extracted from the works of Palestrina. At
the same period there was felt all over Europe a reaction of popular
taste against that of the savants. It was the day of the little _lieder_
by Bononcini or by Keiser. Handel took sides with neither extravagances,
but chose whatever was alive in both movements.

[289] Letter from Lady Luxborough to the poet Shenstone in 1748--quoted
by Chrysander.

[290] His passion of collecting increased with age and fortune. A letter
of 1750 reveals him buying some beautiful pictures, including a fine
Rembrandt. It was the year before he was smitten with blindness.

[291] From the "_Hauts tilleuls_" of _Almira_ up to the Night Chorus in

[292] A study of the MS. of _Jephtha_ (published in _facsimile_ by
Chrysander) affords an opportunity of noticing Handel's speed of working
at composition. On these very pages one reads various annotations in
Handel's own handwriting. At the end of the first act, for instance, he
writes: "_Geendiget_ (finished) 2 February." Again, on the same page one
reads: "_Völlig_ (complete) 13th August, 1751." There were then two
different workings; one the work of invention, the other a work of
completion. It is easy to distinguish them here on account of the
illness which changed the handwriting of Handel after February 13, 1751.
Thanks to this circumstance, one sees that with the Choruses he wrote
the entire subjects in all the voices at the opening; then he let first
one fall, then another, in proceeding; he finished hastily with a single
voice filled in or even the bass only.

[293] It was so with the melody: _Dolce amor che mi consola_ in
_Roderigo_, which became the air: _Ingannata una sol volta_ in
_Agrippina_--and also with the air: _L'alma mia_ from _Agrippina_, which
was used again for the _Resurrection_, for _Rinaldo_ and for _Joshua_.

[294] The Eastern Dance in _Almira_ became the celebrated _Lascia ch'io
pianga_ in _Rinaldo_; and a joyful but ordinary melody from _Pastor
Fido_ was transformed to the touching phrase in the _Funeral Ode_:
"Whose ear she heard."

[295] One can examine here in detail the two very characteristic
instrumental interludes from Stradella's _Serenata a 3 con stromenti_
which had the fortune of blossoming out into the formidable choruses of
the Hailstones and the Plague of Flies in _Israel_. I have made a study
of this in an article for the S.I.M. review (May and July, 1910), under
the title of _Les plagiats de Handel_.

[296] There is reason to believe that he was not absolutely free in the
matter. In 1732, when the Princess Anne wished to have _Esther_
represented at the opera the Archbishop (Dr. Gibson) opposed it, and it
was necessary to fall back to giving the work at a concert.

[297] An anonymous letter published in the _London Daily Post_ in April,
1739, dealing with _Israel in Egypt_, defends Handel against the
opposition of the bigots, who were then very bitter. The writer protests
"that the performance at which he was present was the noblest manner of
honouring God ... it is not the house which sanctifies the prayer, but
the prayer which sanctifies the house."

[298] Is not even _Joseph_ entitled "a sacred Drama," and _Hercules_ "a
musical Drama"?

[299] At the end of his second volume of the Life of Handel.

[300] See the vocal distribution of some of the London Operas:

_Radamisto_ (1720): 4 Sopranos (of which 3 parts are male characters), 1
Alto, 1 Tenor, 1 Bass.

_Floridante_ (1722): 2 Sopranos, 2 Contraltos, 2 Basses.

_Giulio Cesare_ (1724): 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 1 Contralto (Cæsar's rôle),
2 Basses.

_Tamerlano_ (1724): 2 Sopranos, 1 Contralto (male _rôle_), 1 Alto
(Tamerlano), 1 Tenor, 1 Bass.

_Admeto_ (1727): 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, 1 Contralto (Admeto), 2 Basses.

_Orlando_ (1732): 2 Sopranos, 1 Alto (Medora), 1 Contralto (Orlando), 1

_Deidamia_ (1747): 3 Sopranos (one is Achilles' _rôle_), 1 Contralto
(Ulysses), 2 Basses.

It is the same in the Oratorios, where one finds such a work as _Joseph_
(1744) written for 2 Sopranos, 2 Altos, l Contralto (Joseph), 2 Tenors,
and 2 Basses.

Thus, without speaking of the shocking inconsistencies of the parts thus
travestied, the balance of voices tends to fall off as we go from high
to low.

[301] In 1729 he went to Italy to find an heroic tenor, Pio Fabri;
unfortunately he could not secure him for two years.--_Acis and Galatea_
(1720) is written for 2 Tenors, 1 Soprano, and 1 Bass.--The most tragic
_rôle_ in _Tamerlano_ (1724) (that of Bajazet) was written for the
Tenor, Borosini.--_Rodelinda_, _Scipione_, _Alessandro_, all contain
Tenor _rôles_.--On the other hand, Handel was not satisfied with having
in his theatre the most celebrated basses of the century, the famous
Boschi and Montagnana, for whom he wrote such fine _rôles_, such as that
of Zoroaster in _Orlando_, and Polyphemus in _Acis and Galatea_; but he
aimed at having several important _rôles_ all taken by Basses in the
same Opera. In his first version of _Athaliah_ (1733) he had written a
duet for Basses for Joad and Mathan. But the defection of Montagnana
obliged him to give up this idea, which he could only realise in _Israel
in Egypt_.

[302] See also _Giulio Cesare_, _Atalanta_, or _Orlando_.

[303] Especially in certain concert operas, such as _Alcina_ (1735), and
also in the last work of Handel, in which one feels his final torpor,
_The Triumph of Time_.

[304] See those Oratorios in which he is not afraid, when necessary, of
introducing little popular songs, as that of the little waiting-maid in
_Susanna_ (1749).

[305] See the air of Medea at the beginning of the second act of
_Teseo_; _Dolce riposo_. See also _Ariodante_ and _Hercules_.

[306] Such as the air at the opening of _Radamisto_; _Sommi Dei_.--I
will mention also the airs written over a Ground-Bass accompaniment
without _Da Capo_, of which the most beautiful type is the _Spirito
amato_ of Cleofide, in _Poro_.

[307] For example the air, _Per dar pregio_, in _Roderigo_. The oboe
plays a great part in these musical jousts. Such an air as that in
_Teseo_ is like a little Concerto for Oboe.

[308] They are extremely short. Some are popular songs. Others in
_Agrippina_ have just a phrase. Many of these _arietti da capo_, in
_Teseo_, in _Ottone_; make one think of those in Gluck's _Iphigénie en

[309] In _Rinaldo_, the air, _Ah crudel il pianto mio_, the first part
is a sorrowful _largo_, the second a furious _presto_.--The finest
example of this freedom is the air of Timotheus at the beginning of the
second act of _Alexander's Feast_. The two parts in this air differ not
only by the movements but by the instrumental colouring, by the harmonic
character, and by the very essence of the thought; they are two
different poems which are joined together, but each being complete in

[310] Examples; _Teseo_, Medea's _Moriro, ma vendicata_; _Amadigi_ air,
_T'amai quant'il mio cor_.

[311] _Riccardo I_, air, _Morte, vieni_.

[312] In the airs _da capo_ of _Ariodante_, the second part is
restricted to five bars.

[313] _L'Allegro ed Penseroso_, 1st air, Part 3, _Come with native
lustre shine_; after the 2nd part comes a recitative, then the chorus
sings the _Da Capo_.--In _Alexander's Feast_ the air, _He sung Darius,
great and good_; after the 2nd part comes a recitative, then the _Da
Capo_ with Chorus, but altogether free; to speak truly, the _Da Capo_ is
only in the instrumental accompaniment.

[314] Handel has found a musical language passing by imperceptible steps
from _recitativo secco_, almost spoken, to _recitativo accompagnato_,
then to the air. In _Scipione_ (1726) the phrases of the accompanied
_recitative_ are enshrined in small frameworks of spoken _recitative_
(see p. 23 of the Complete Handel Edition, the air, _Oh sventurati_).
The final air in the first act is a compromise between speech and song.
The accompanied _recitative_ runs naturally into the air.

[315] In the chain of Recitatives and Airs of all kinds which succeed or
mingle themselves with it, with an astonishing freedom reflecting one
after another, or even at the same time the contradictory ideas which
course through Roland's mind, Handel does not hesitate to use unusual
rhythms, as the 5-8 here which gives a stronger impression of the hero's

[316] It is necessary to consider to some extent the _Arias buffi_. Some
have denied Handel the gift of humour. They cannot know him well. He is
full of humour, and often expresses it in his works. In his first opera,
_Almira_, the _rôle_ of Tabarco is in the comic style of Keiser and of
Telemann. It is the same feeling which gives certain traits a little
_caricaturesque_ to the _rôle_ of St. Peter in the _Passion after
Brockes_. The Polyphemus in _Acis and Galatea_ has a fine amplitude of
rough buffoonery. But in _Agrippina_ Handel derived his subtle irony
from Italy; and the light style with its minute touches and its jerky
rhythms from Vinci and Pergolesi (to the letter) appear with Handel in
_Teseo_ (1713). _Radamisto_, _Rodelinda_, _Alessandro_, _Tolomeo_,
_Partenope_, _Orlando_, _Atalanta_ afford numerous examples. The scene
where Alexander and Roxane are asleep (or pretend to be) is a little
scene of musical comedy. _Serse_ and _Deidamia_ are like tragi-comedies,
the action of which points to _opéra comique_. But his gift of humour
takes another turn in his oratorios, where Handel not only creates
complex and colossal types, such as _Delilah_ or _Haraphah_ in _Samson_,
or as the two old men in _Susanna_, but where his Olympian laugh breaks
out in the choruses of _L'Allegro_, shaking the sides of the audience
with irresistible laughter.

[317] See especially Hugo Goldschmidt: _Treatise on Vocal Ornaments_,
Volume I, 1907; Max Seiffert: _Die Verzierung der Sologesänge in
Haendels Messias_ (I.M.G., July-September, 1907, and Monthly Bulletin of
I.M.G., February, 1908); Rudolf Wustmann: _Zwei Messias-probleme_
(Monthly Bulletin I.M.G., January, February, 1908).

[318] M. Seiffert has given a description of the whole series of copies
of Handel Operas and Oratorios in the Lennard collection of the
Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge. There are to be found there (in pencil)
the indication of the ornaments and vocalises executed by the singers.
According to M. Seiffert these indications were by Christopher Smith,
the friend and factotum of Handel. According to Mr. Goldschmidt they
were put in at the end of the eighteenth century. In any case they show
a vocal tradition which affords a good opportunity of preserving for us
the physiognomy of the musical ornaments of Handel's time.

[319] This is especially true of the oratorios. In the operas, the
ornamentation was much more elaborate and more irrelevant to the

[320] The first, by Mr. Seiffert; the second, by Mr. Goldschmidt.

[321] _Teseo_, duet, _Addio, mio caro bene_; _Esther_, duet by Esther
and Ahasuerus: "Who calls my parting soul?"

[322] _Arminio_ (1737), duet from Act III. It is to be noticed that
_Arminio_ opens also with a duet, a very exceptional thing.

Other duets are in the Sicilian style, as, for instance, that in _Giulio
Cesare_, or in the popular English style of the hornpipe, as that of
Teofane and Otho in _Ottone_; _A'teneri affetti_.

[323] There are to be found also some fine trios in a serious yet virile
style in the _Passion according to Brockes_ (trio of the believing
souls: _O Donnerwort_!) and in the _Chandos Anthems_.

[324] See also the quartet in Act I of _Semele_.

[325] With the exception of the Italian operas played at Venice, in
which (thanks to Fux) the tradition of vocal polyphony is maintained--a
tradition to be put to such good use later by Hasse and especially

[326] The 5-8 time in _Orlando_; the 9-8 in _Berenice_.

[327] The Introduction to _Riccardo I_ represents a vessel wrecked in a
tempestuous sea.

[328] _Giulio Cesare_: Scene on Parnassus.

[329] _Ariodante_, _Alcina_.

[330] See _Israel in Egypt_.

[331] _Belshazzar_, _Susanna_, _L'Allegro_, _Samson_.

[332] _Saul_, _Theodora_, _Athalia_.

[333] _Passion according to Brockes_, _Chandos Anthems_, _Funeral
Anthem_, _Foundling Anthem_.

[334] _Anthems_, _Jubilate_, _Israel in Egypt_.

[335] _Israel in Egypt_, _Messiah_, _Belshazzar_, _Chandos Anthems_.

[336] _Samson_, _Saul_, _Israel in Egypt_.

[337] _L'Allegro_, _Susanna_, _Belshazzar_, _Alexander Balus_.

[338] _Solomon_, _L'Allegro_.

[339] _Hercules_, _Saul_, _Semele_, _Alexander Balus_, _Solomon_.

[340] I have noticed above the Chorus-Dances in _Giulio Cesare_,
_Orlando_, _Ariodante_, _Alcina._ There are also veritable choral dances
in _Hercules_, _Belshazzar_, _Solomon_, _Saul_ (the Bell scene),
_Joshua_ (Sacred dance in Act II over a Ground-Bass).

[341] So in _Athalia_, _Alexander's Feast_, _L'Allegro_, _Samson_
(Michel's rôle).

[342] _Jubilate_, _Funeral Anthem_.

[343] Quoted by M. Bellaigue in _Les Époques de la Musique_, Vol. I,
page 109.

[344] In the time of Lully and his school, the French were the leaders
in musical painting, especially for the storms. Addison made fun of it,
and the parodies of the _Théâtre de la Foire_ often amused people by
reproducing in caricature the storms of the _Opéra_.

[345] Extract from a pamphlet published in London (1751) on _The art of
composing music in a completely new manner adapted even to the feeblest

Already Pope in 1742 compared Handel with Briareus.

"Strong in new arms, lo! Giant HANDEL stands,
Like bold Briareus with his _hundred hands_."

At the time of _Rinaldo_ (1711) Addison accused Handel of delighting in

[346] ".... You refuse to submit to rules; you refuse to let your genius
be hampered by them.... O thou Goth and Vandal!... You also allow
nightingales and canaries on the stage and let them execute their
untrained natural operas, in order that you may be considered a
composer. A carpenter with his rule and square can go as far in
composition as you, O perfect irregularity!" (_Harmony in Revolt: a
letter to Frederic Handel esquire, ... by Hurlothrumbo-Johnson_,
February, 1734).

[347] Soon Handel was obliged to publish these works, because fraudulent
and faulty copies were being sold. It was so with the first volume of
_Suites de pièces pour le clavecin_, published in 1720, and the first
volume of Organ Concertos published in 1738. Some of these publications
had been made in a bare-faced manner without Handel's permission by
publishers who had pilfered them. So it was with the second volume of
_Suites de pièces pour le clavecin_, which Walsh had appropriated and
published in 1733 without giving Handel an opportunity of correcting the
proofs. It is very remarkable that, notwithstanding the great European
success achieved by the first volume for the Clavecin, Handel did not
trouble to publish the others.

[348] All his contemporaries agree in praising the wonderful genius with
which Handel adapted himself instinctively in his improvisations to the
spirit of his audience. Like all the greatest Virtuosos he soon placed
himself in the closest spiritual communion with his public; and, so to
speak, they collaborated together.

[349] Geminiani's Preface to his _Ecole de violon_, or _The Art of
Playing on the Violin, Containing all the Rules necessary to attain to
Perfection on that Instrument, with great variety of Compositions, which
will also be very useful to those who study the violoncello,
harpsichord, etc._ Composed by F. Geminiani, Opera IX, London, MDCCLI.

[350] Geminiani himself had attempted to represent in music the pictures
of Raphael and the poems of Tasso.

[351] For example, the _Allegro_ of the First Organ Concerto (second
volume published in 1740), with its charming dialogue between the cuckoo
and the nightingale, or the first of the Second Organ Concerto (in the
same volume), or several of the _Concerti Grossi_ (referred to later).

[352] Vol. XLVII of the Complete Handel Edition.

[353] It is a manuscript of 21 pages, the writing appearing to date from
about 1710. It is certainly a copy from some older works. Chrysander
published it in Volume XLVIII of the Complete Edition. It is probable
that Handel had given to an English friend a selection from the
compositions of his early youth. They were passed from hand to hand, and
were even fraudulently published, as Handel tells us himself in the
Edition of 1720: "I have been led to publish some of the following
pieces, because some faulty copies of them have been surreptitiously
circulated abroad." In this number appear, for example, the Third Suite,
the Sarabande of the Seventh Suite, etc.

[354] It is said that Handel wrote these for the Princess Anne, whom he
taught the clavecin; but Chrysander had observed that the princess was
only eleven years old at the time. It is more probable that these pieces
were written for the Duke of Chandos or for the Duke of Burlington.--It
is in the second book of Clavier Pieces that we find the much easier
pieces written for the princesses.

[355] In their republication of the _Geschichte der Klaviermusik_ by
Weitzmann (1899), in which the chapter devoted to Handel contains the
fullest information of any description of the Clavier works.

[356] Influences of Krieger and of Kuhnau, particularly in the Halle
period (see Vol. XLVIII, pp. 146, 149); French influences in the Hamburg
Period (pp. 166, 170); influences of Pasquini (p. 162); and of Scarlatti
(pp. 148, 152), about the time of his Italian visits. The influence of
Kuhnau is very marked, and Handel had all his life a well-stocked memory
of this music, and particularly of Kuhnau's _Klavier-Uebung_
(1689-1692), and the _Frischen Klavier-Früchte_ (1696), which were then
widely known and published in numerous editions. Here is the same limpid
style, the same neat soberness of line. Kuhnau's Sarabandes especially
are already completely Handelian. It is the same with certain Preludes,
certain Gigues, and some of the airs (a trifle popular).

[357] For the German influence, see the Suites 1, 4, 5, 8 (four dance
movements preceded by an introduction). For the Italian, see the Suites
2, 3, 6, 7, of which the form approximates to the _Sonata da camera_.

[358] M. Seiffert adds that none of these elements predominate. I would
rather follow the opinion of Chrysander, who notices in this fusion of
three national styles a predominant tendency to the Italian, just as
Bach inclines most to the French style.

[359] One finds there, cycles of variations on Minuets, on Gavottes,
especially on Chaconnes and many other Italian forms. The Gigue of the
Sixth Suite (in G minor) comes from an air in _Almira_ (1705). One
notices also that the Eighth Suite in G major is in the French style
(particularly the Gavotte in rondo with five variations).

It is necessary to follow this second volume by the third, which
contains works of widely different periods: _Fantasia_, _Capriccio_,
_Preludio e Allegro_, _Sonata_, published at Amsterdam in 1732, and
dating from his youthful period (the Second Suite was inspired by an
_Allemande_ of Mattheson): _Lessons composed for the Princess Louisa_
(when aged twelve or thirteen years) about 1736; _Capriccio in G minor_
(about the same date); and _Sonata in C major_ in 1750.

Finally, there should be added to these volumes, various clavier works
published in Vol. XLVIII of the Complete Edition under the title:
_Klaviermusik und Cembalo Bearbeitungen_. There is also a selection of
the best arrangements of symphonies and airs from the operas of Handel
by Babell (about 1713 or 1714).

[360] Mattheson in 1722 quoted the Fugue in E minor as quite a recent

[361] Handel himself told his friend Bernard Granville so, when he made
him a present of Krieger's work: _Anmuthige Clavier-Uebung_, published
in 1699.

[362] The Fugue in A minor was used for the Chorus, _He smote all the
firstborn in Egypt_, in _Israel in Egypt_, and the Fugue in G minor. The
Chorus, _They loathed to drink at the river_. Another (the 4th) served
for the Overture to the _Passion after Brockes_.

[363] The indications: _ad libitum_, or _cembalo_, found time after time
in his scores, marked the places reserved for the improvisation.

Despite Handel's great physical power, his touch was extraordinarily
smooth and equal. Burney tells us that when he played, his fingers were
"so curved and compact, that no motion, and scarcely the fingers
themselves, could be discovered" (_Commemoration of Handel_, p. 35). M.
Seiffert believes that "his technique, which realised all Rameau's
principles, certainly necessitated the use of the thumb in the modern
style," and that "one can trace a relationship between Handel's arrival
in England and the adoption of the Italian fingering which soon became
fully established there."

[364] A fourth was published by Arnold in 1797; but part of the works
which it contains are not original. Handel had nothing to do with the
publication of the Second Set.

Vol. XXVIII of the Complete Edition contains the Six Concertos of the
First Set, Op. 4 (1738) and the Six of the Third Set, Op. 7 (1760). Vol.
XLVIII comprises the concertos of the Second Set (1740), an experiment
at a Concerto for two organs and orchestra, and two Concertos from the
Fourth Set (1797).

Many of the Concertos are dated. Most of them were written between 1735
and 1751; and several for special occasions; the sixth of the First Set
for an _entr'acte_ to _Alexander's Feast_; the fourth of the First Set,
a little before _Alcina_; the third of the Third Set for the Foundling
Hospital. The Concerto in B minor (No. 3) was always associated in the
mind of the English public with _Esther_; for the minuet was called the
"Minuet from Esther."

[365] May 8, 1735. It was the year when Handel wrote and performed his
first Concertos of the First Set.

[366] Hawkins wrote further: "Music was less fashionable than it is now,
many of both sexes were ingenuous enough to confess that they wanted
this sense, by saying, 'I have no ear for music.' Persons such as these,
who, had they been left to themselves, would have interrupted the
hearing of others by their talking, were by the performance of Handel
not only charmed into silence, but were generally the loudest in their
acclamations. This, though it could not be said to be genuine applause,
was a much stronger proof of the power of harmony, than the like effect
on an audience composed only of judges and rational admirers of his art"
(_General History of Music_, p. 912).

[367] In the Tenth Concerto there are two violoncellos and two bassoons.
The same in the Concerto for two Organs. In the long Concerto in F major
(Vol. XLVIII) we find two horns.

[368] Sometimes the name is found marked there. See the Eighth Concerto
in Vol. XXVIII and the Concerto in F major in Vol. XLVIII.

[369] Vol. XLVIII, page 51.

[370] Mr. Streatfeild was, I believe, the first to notice an autograph
MS. of the Fourth Organ Concerto to which is attached a Hallelujah
Chorus built on a theme from the concerto itself. This MS., which is
found at the British Museum, dates from 1735, and appears to have been
used for the revival in 1737 of the _Trionfo del Tempo_ to which the
Concerto serves for conclusion.

[371] Scriabin also.--_Translator._

[372] _Six Sonatas or Trios for two Hoboys with a thorough bass for the
Harpsichord._ Published in Vol. XXVII.

[373] Volume XLVIII, page 112.

[374] Volume XLVIII, page 130.

[375] Volume XXVII.

[376] _VII Sonatas à 2 violons, 2 hautbois, ou 2 flûtes traversières et
basse continue, composées par G. F. Handel, Second ouvrage._

[377] Later on, Walsh made arrangements of favourite airs from Handel's
Operas and Oratorios as "Sonatas" for flute, violin and harpsichord. Six

[378] In eleven sonatas out of sixteen. One sonata (the third) is in
three movements. Three are in five movements (the first, the fifth and
the seventh). One is in seven movements (the ninth).

[379] In the first Sonata, the final _Presto_ in common time uses the
theme of the _Andante_ in 3-4, which forms the second movement. In the
second Sonata, the final _Presto_ in common time is built on the subject
of the _Andante_ in 3-4, slightly modified.

[380] The fifth Sonata is in five movements--_larghetto_, _allegro_
(3-8), _adagio_, _allegro_ (4-4), _allegro_ (12-8).

[381] From five to seven movements.

[382] A Gavotte concludes the first, second, and third trios. A Minuet
ends the fourth, sixth, and seventh. A Bourrée finishes the fifth. There
are also found two Musettes and a March in the second Trio, a Sarabande,
an Allemande and a Rondo in the third; a Passacaille and a Gigue in the

[383] It was the æsthetic of the period. Thus M. Mennicke writes:
"Neutrality of orchestral colour characterises the time of Bach and
Handel. The instrumentation corresponds to the registration of an
Organ." The Symphonic orchestra is essentially built up on the strings.
The wind instruments serve principally as _ripieno_. When they used the
wood-wind _obbligato_, it went on throughout the movement and did not
merely add a touch of colour here and there.

[384] One finds in the middle of the _Trionfo del Tempo_ an instrumental
Sonata for 2 Oboes, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Basso, and Organ. In the
Solo of the Magdalene in the _Resurrection_, Handel uses two flutes, two
violins (muted), _viola da gamba_ and cello; the cello is occupied with
a pedal-note of thirty-nine bars at the opening, and then joins the
clavecin. In the middle of the air, the _viola da gamba_ and the flutes
play by themselves.

[385] In _Radamisto_ (1720) Tiridate's air: _Alzo al colo_, and final
chorus. In _Giulio Cesare_, 4 horns.

I do not suppose that Handel was the first to use the clarionets in an
orchestra, as this appears very doubtful. One sees on a copy of
_Tamerlano_ by Schmidt: _clar. e clarini_ (in place of the _cornetti_ in
the autograph manuscript). But it is feasible that just as with the
"_clarinettes_" used by Rameau in the _Acanthe et Céphise_, the high
trumpets are intended. Mr. Streatfeild mentions also a concerto for two
"clarinets" and _corno di caccia_, the MS. being in the Fitzwilliam
Museum at Cambridge.

[386] _Alcina_, _Semele_, _L'Allegro_, _Alexander's Feast_, the little
_Ode to St. Cecilia_, etc. Usually Handel imparts to the cello either an
amorous desire or an elegiac consolation.

[387] Thus, in the famous scene which opens the second Act of
_Alexander's Feast_ (second part of the air in G minor), evoking the
host of the dead who have wandered at night from their graves, there are
no violins, no brass; just 3 bassoons, 2 violas, cello, bassi and organ.

[388] In Saul, the scene of the Sorcerer, apparition of the spirit of

[389] The _violette marine_ (little violas very soft) in _Orlando_

[390] The monster instruments used for the colossal performances at
Westminster. The double bassoon by Stainsby made in 1727 for the
coronation celebrations. Handel borrowed from the Captain of Artillery
some huge drums preserved at the Tower of London, for _Saul_ and for the
_Dettingen Te Deum_. Moreover, like Berlioz, he was not afraid of using
firearms in the orchestra. Mrs. Elizabeth Carter wrote: "Handel has
literally introduced firearms into _Judas Maccabæus_; and they have a
good effect" (_Carter Correspondence_, p. 134), and Sheridan, in a
humorous sketch (Jupiter) represents an author who directs a pistol-shot
to be fired behind the scenes, as saying, "See, I borrowed this from

[391] For the scene of Cleopatra's apparition on the Parnassus, at the
opening of Act II of _Giulio Cesare_, Handel has two orchestras, one on
the stage; Oboe, 2 Violins, Viola, Harp, Viola da gamba, Theorbo,
Bassoons, Cellos; the other, in front. The first air of Cleopatra in
_Alexander Balus_ is accompanied by 2 Flutes, 2 Violins, Viola, 2
Cellos, Harp, Mandoline, Basses, Bassoon and Organ.

[392] Fritz Volbach: _Die Praxis der Hændel-Aufführung_, 1899.

[393] In addition to two parts for Flutes, two for Oboes, two for
Bassoons, Violas, Cellos and Basses, Cembalo, Theorbo, Harp and Organ;
in all, fifteen orchestral parts to accompany a single voice of

[394] For the Angel's Song.

[395] In _Saul_, "_viola II per duoi violoncelli ripieni_." (See
Volbach, _ibid._)

[396] Study from this point of view the progress from the very simple
instrumentation of _Alexander's Feast_, where at first two Oboes are
used with the strings, then appear successively two Bassoons (air No.
6), two Horns (air No. 9), two Trumpets and Drums (Part II), and, for
conclusion, with the heavenly apparition of St. Cecilia, two Flutes.

[397] Dr. Hermann Abert has found the first indication: _crescendo il
forte_ in Jommelli's _Artaserse_, performed at Rome in 1749. In the
eighteenth century the Abbé Vogler and Schubart already had attributed
the invention of the _Crescendo_ to Jommelli.

[398] See Lucien Kamiensky: _Mannheim und Italien_ (_Sammelbände der
I.M.G._, January-March, 1909).

[399] M. Volbach has noticed in the overture to the _Choice of
Hercules_, second movement: _piano_, _mezzo forte_, _un poco più forte_,
_forte_, _mezzo piano_, all in fourteen bars. In the chorus in _Acis and
Galatea_, "Mourn, all ye muses," one reads _forte_, _piano_, _pp._--The
introduction of _Zadock the Priest_ shows a colossal _crescendo_; the
introductory movement to the final chorus in _Deborah_, a very broad

[400] H. Riemann: _Zur Herkunft der dynamischen Schwellzeichen_ (I.M.G.,
February, 1909).

[401] Carle Mennicke notices the same sign for _decrescendo_ ((>) on a
long note in the Overture to Rameau's _Acanthe et Céphise_ (1751).

[402] Geminiani says of the _forte_ and the _piano_: "They are
absolutely necessary to give expression to the melody; for all good
music being the imitation of a fine discourse, these two ornaments have
for their aim the varied inflections of the speaking voice." Telemann
writes: "Song is the foundation of music, in every way. What the
instruments play ought to be exactly after the principles of expression
in singing."

And M. Volbach shows that these principles governed music then in
Germany with all kinds of musicians, even with the trompettist
Altenburg, whose _School for the Trumpet_ was based on the principle
that instrumental performance ought to be similar to vocal rendering.

[403] Max Seiffert: _Die Verzierung der Sologesänge in Haendels Messias_
(_Sammelbände der I.M.G._, July-September, 1907).

[404] Fritz Volbach reckons for the _Concerto Grosso_, 8 first violins,
8 seconds, 6 violas, 4 to 6 cellos, 4 basses--and for the _Ripienists_,
6 first violins, 6 seconds, 4 violas, 3 or 4 celli, and 3 basses.

These numbers are much greater than that of Handel's own performances.
The programmes of a performance of the _Messiah_ at the Foundling
Hospital, May 3, 1759, a little after Handel's death, give only 56
executants, of which 33 were instrumentalists and 23 singers. The
orchestra was divided into 12 violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos, 4 oboes, 4
bassoons, 2 trumpets, 2 horns and drums (see _Musical Times_, May,

[405] "_Leichtigkeit der Bewegung und Beweglichkeit des Ausdrucks_," as
Volbach tells us (suppleness of time and fluidity of expression); these
are the essential qualities which alone will revive the true rendering
of Handel's works.

[406] _12 Grand Concertos_ for stringed instruments and clavier (Vol.
XXX of the Complete Edition), written from September 29 to October 20,
1739, between the little _Ode to St. Cecilia_ and _L'Allegro_. They
appeared in April, 1740. Another volume, of which we will speak later,
is known under the name of _Oboe Concertos_, and contains six _Concerti
Grossi_ (Vol. XXI of the Complete Edition). Max Seiffert has published a
well-edited practical edition of these concertos (Breitkopf).

[407] The _Concertino_ consists of a trio for two violins and bass
_soli_, with _Cembalo Obbligato_. The Germans introduced wood-wind into
the _concertino_, combining thus a violin, an oboe, a bassoon. The
Italians remained faithful, generally speaking, to the stringed
instruments alone.

[408] The _Concerti Grossi_, Op. 6, of Corelli, published in 1712,
represent his lifelong practice. About 1682, George Muffat, visiting
Rome, sought to make acquaintance there with the _Concerti Grossi_ of
Corelli, who already wrote them for instrumental masses of considerable
size. Burney speaks of a concert of 150 string instruments conducted by
Corelli at the Palace of Christine of Sweden in 1680 (see Arnold
Schering's excellent little book: _Geschichte des Instrumentalkonzerts_,
1905, Breitkopf).

[409] Geminiani caused three volumes of Corelli's Concertos to be
published: Op. 2 (1732), Op. 3 (1735), Op. 7 (1748).

[410] Arnold Schering has noted the relationship between a subject of
Geminiani and one in Handel's _Concerto Grosso_, No. 4.

[411] Volume XXI of the Complete Edition.

[412] About 1682, Muffat published at Salzburg his _Armonico tributo_,
Chamber Sonatas, where he mingled the style of the Lullian Trio with the
style of the Italian _Concertino_. And in 1701, at Passau, he published
some _Concerti Grossi_ in the Italian manner after the example of

[413] _Concerti Grossi_, Amsterdam, 1721.

[414] Antonio Vivaldi of Venice (1680-1743), choirmaster of the Ospedale
della Pieta from 1714, began to be known in Germany between 1710 and
1720. The arrangements of his _Concerti Grossi_, which J. S. Bach made,
date from the time when Bach was at Weimar, that is between 1708 and

[415] Locatelli and Vivaldi came under the influence of the Italian
Opera. Vivaldi himself wrote thirty-eight operas. One of the _Concerti_
of Locatalli (Op. 7, 1741) was named _Il pianto d'Arianna_. In the
_Cimento dell'Armonia_ of Vivaldi four Concertos describe the four
seasons, a fifth paints _La Tempesta_, a sixth _Il Piacere_ (Pleasure).
In Vivaldi's Op. 10 a Concerto represents _La Notte_ (Night), another
_Il Cardellino_ (The Goldfinch). And Arnold Schering notices Vivaldi's
influence in Germany on a Granpuer at Darmstadt, and on Jos. Gregorius
Werner in Bohemia.

[416] See the following dates: September 29, 1739, Concerto I in G
major; October 4, Concerto II in F major; October 6, Concerto III in E
minor; October 8, Concerto IV in A minor; October 12, Concerto VII in B
flat major; October 15, Concerto VI in G minor; October 18, Concerto
VIII in C minor; October 20, Concerto XII in B minor; October 22,
Concerto X in D minor; October 30, Concerto XI in A major (Vol. XXX of
Complete Edition).

[417] One sees French influences particularly in the Tenth Concerto (in
D minor), which has an Overture (_Grave_ in 4-4 time and Fugue in 6-8).
The whole movement preserves an abstract and irregular character. The
last of the six movements--an _Allegro Moderato_, with Variations (very
pretty)--resembles a tune for a musical box.

[418] See even the Third Concerto in E minor, so vivacious, with its
_Larghetto_ 3-2, melancholy and serene, its _Andante_ 12-8 Fugue with an
elaborate theme of twirling designs which gives the impression of the
fancies of a capricious and gloomy soul, its _Allegro_ in 4-4, with a
humour a little grotesque--its picturesque Polonaise on a pedal-bass,
and its final _allegro ma non troppo_ of which the rhythm and unexpected
modulations make one think of certain dances in the later quartets of

[419] The Fifth Concerto in D major may be styled the Concerto to St.
Cecilia; for three out of the six movements (the two first and the
beautiful final minuet) are found again in the Overture to the little
_Ode to St. Cecilia_.

[420] Arnold Schering believes that the idea of this Musette was given
to Handel by a _ritournelle_ from Leonardo Leo's _S. Elena il Calvaroa_.

[421] The two last _allegri_ conclude the work a trifle brusquely. The
order of the movements with Handel is often very surprising. It is as
though he followed the caprice of the moment.

[422] We cannot continue here the analysis of the other volumes of
Orchestral Concertos. I satisfy myself with merely enumerating them: The
_6 Concerti grossi con due violini e violoncello di concertino obligati
e due altri violini viola e basso di concerto grosso, op. 3_, known
under the name of Oboe Concertos (notwithstanding that the oboe does not
play a very prominent _rôle_), were published in 1734, and seemed to
have been performed at the Wedding of the Prince of Orange with the
Princess Anne in 1733. But, as we are told, their composition was
previous to this; for not only do we find in the third and the fifth the
reproduction of fugues from the Clavier Pieces, but the fourth served in
1716 as the second overture to _Amadigi_, and the first movement of the
fifth was played in 1722 in the opera _Ottone_. The form of these
Concertos, even less set than with the preceding _Concerti Grossi_,
varies from two to five movements, and their orchestration comprises,
besides the strings, two oboes, to which are occasionally added two
flutes, two bassoons, the organ and the clavecin. It is only exceptional
that the oboe plays a solo part; more often it has to satisfy itself by
reinforcing the violins.

To this volume we must add a number of other concertos, which appeared
at different times, and are brought together in Volume XXI of the
Complete Works; especially the celebrated Concerto of _Alexander's
Feast_, written in January, 1736, of which the style has the same
massive breadth as the oratorio itself. And four little concertos, two
of which are interesting by being youthful works, from 1703 to 1710,
according to Chrysander.

[423] Handel's Overtures were so much appreciated that the publisher
Walsh issued a volume of them for the clavier(65 Overtures). A good
specimen of these transcriptions is found in Volume XLVIII of the
Complete Edition.

[424] Both movements are rudimentary.

[425] This device is often used by Handel to make the transition between
the orchestra and the voice.

[426] Scheibe, who was, with Mattheson, the greatest of German musical
critics in Handel's time, states that the overture ought in its two
first movements "to mark the chief character of the work"; and in the
third movement "to prepare for the first scene of the piece" (_Krit.
Musikus_, 1745). Scheibe himself composed in 1738 some _Sinfonie_ "which
expressed to some extent the contents of the works" (_Polyeuctes,

[427] _Andante_, _larghetto_, _allegro_ (fugue).

[428] Only whereas a modern composer would not have omitted the
opportunity of exposing his programme in an organic manner (by
presenting turn by turn the two rival themes, then by bringing them into
conflict, and finally terminating with the triumph of Israel's theme),
Handel contents himself in exposing the two subjects without seeking to
establish any further sequence. If he finishes his overture with the
theme of Baal, it is because it is a gigue movement, and because the
gigue serves well there for concluding; and because Israel's song being
an _adagio_ is better placed as the second movement. It is such
architectural considerations which guide him rather than dramatic ones.
It is the same with nearly all the symphonies of the eighteenth century.
In the same manner even Beethoven in his _Eroica_ symphony allows his
hero to die and be buried in the second movement, and then celebrates
his acts and his triumphs in the third and fourth movements.

[429] Amongst the other overtures, which have the character of
introduction to the work proper, I will mention the Overture to
_Athalie_, which is in perfect accordance with the tragedy;--that of
_Acis and Galatea_, which is a Pastoral Symphony evoking the Pagan life
of nature;--that of the _Occasional Oratorio_, a warlike overture with
two marches, trumpet calls, and a Prayer of distress. There is also the
outline of a programme in the Overture to _Judas Maccabæus_, of which
the first movement is related to the Funeral Scene which opens the first
act, and of which the second movement (Fugue) is connected with one of
the warlike choruses of Act I.

The Overture of _Riccardo I_ (1727), in two movements, contains a
tempest in music painted in a powerful and poetic manner, which opens
the first act after the manner of the Tempest in _Iphigénie en Tauride_,
and on the last rumblings of which the dialogue between the heroes

Finally one finds occasionally in the course of the works some other
_Sinfonie_ which have a dramatic character. The most striking is that
which opens the third act of the _Choice of Hercules_. It depicts turn
by turn the fury of Hercules and the sad force of Destiny which weighs
down on his soul.

[430] Volume XLVIII of the Complete Works.

[431] The work was an immediate success. A first Edition very incorrect
and incomplete was published in London about 1720, by Walsh.
Arrangements for harpsichord with variations by Geminiani were also
published. Both the Water Music and the Firework Music are published in
Volume XLVII of the Complete Edition.

[432] One may add to these monumental pieces the _Sinfonie diverse_ (pp.
140-143 of Vol. XLVIII) and the Concerto in F major in the form of an
Overture and Suite (pp. 68-100, _ibid._), but particularly the _3
Concerti für grosses Orchester_ and the _2 Concerti a due cori_ of Vol.
XLVII. The _Concerti für grosses Orchester_ have been, so to speak, the
sketch books for the Water Music and for the Firework Music. The first
Concerto dates from about 1715, and furnished two movements for the
Water Music. It is written for two horns, two oboes, bassoon, two
violins, violas and bass. The second Concerto in F major (for four
horns, two oboes, bassoons, two violins, violas, cellos, basses and
organ); and the third Concerto in D major (for two trumpets, four horns,
drums, two oboes, bassoons, two violins, violas, cellos, organ) contains
already nearly all the Firework Music with a less important orchestra,
but with the Organ in addition.

The two Concertos for two horns (_Concerti a due cori_) were made from
the important choruses of the Oratorios transcribed for double
orchestra--ten orchestral parts for the first group, twelve for the
second (four horns, eight oboes, bassoons, etc.). Thus the appearance of
God in _Esther_: "Jehovah crowned in glory bright," and the connected
chorus: "He comes to end our woes." There are there colossal dialogues
between the two orchestras.

[433] The autograph MS., published in XLVII of the Complete Edition,
contains: 2 parts for trumpets with 3 trumpets to a part (_i.e._ 6
trumpets); 3 _Prinzipali_ (low trumpets); 3 drums; 3 parts for horns
with 3 to a part (_i.e._ 9 Horns); 3 parts for oboes with 12 for the
first part, 8 for the second and 4 for the third (_i.e._ 24 oboes); 2
parts for bassoons with 8 for the first and 4 for the second (_i.e._ 12
bassoons). Total, 70 wind instruments. There were about 100 players for
the performance on April 27, 1749.

Later on, Handel reproduced the work for concert use by adding the
string orchestra to it.

[434] Written for 9 horns in three sections, 24 oboes in two sections,
and 12 bassoons.

[435] It would not be difficult to add other analogous works by Handel
and Beethoven. There exists a fine repertoire of popular classical music
for open-air _fêtes_. But, nevertheless, it is completely disregarded.

[436] The Gavotte theme from the Overture to _Ottone_ was played all
over England and on all kinds of instruments, "even on the pan's-pipes
of the perambulating jugglers." It was found even at the end of the
eighteenth century as a French vaudeville air. (see the _Anthologie
françoise ou Chansons choisies_, published by Monnet, in 1765, Vol. I,
p. 286). The March from _Scipio_, as also that from _Rinaldo_, served
during half a century for the Parade of the Life Guards. The minuets and
overtures from _Arianna_ and Berenice had a long popularity. One sees in
the English novels of the time (especially in Fielding's _Tom Jones_) to
what an extent Handel's music had permeated English country life, even
from the small country squires to the county magnates, so absolutely cut
off as they were from _all_ artistic influences.

[437] Paul Marie Masson has noticed that about the date of 1716, in a
volume of _Recueil d'airs serieux et à boire_. (Bibl. Nat. Vm. 549), an
_Aria del Signor Inden_ (sic), "_air ajouté au ballet de l'Europe
Galante_." The _Meslanges de musique latine, françoise et italienne_ of
Ballard (in 1728), contains amongst the Italian airs _Arie de Signor
Endel_ (p. 61). All the airs of the _Chasse du cerf_ by Sere de Rieux
(1734) are Handel airs adapted to French words. An article by Michel
Brenet, _La librairie musicale en France de 1653 à 1790, d'après les
registres de priviléges_ (_Sammelbände I.M.G._, 1907) gives a series of
French Editions of Handel from 1736, 1739, 1749, 1751, 1765. In 1736 and
in 1743 in _Concerts Spirituels_ some of his airs and his _Concerti
Grossi_ were given (Brenet: _Les Concerts en France sous l'ancien
régime_, 1900). A number of his airs were arranged for the flute by
Blavet in his three _Receuils de pièces, petits airs, brunettes,
minuets, etc., accommodés pour les flutes traversières, violins, etc._,
which appeared between 1740 and 1750. Handel was so well known in Paris
that they sold his portrait there in 1739. (See a tradesman's
advertisement in the _Mercure de France_, June, 1739, Vol. II, page

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