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George F. Handel

Powerful Essays
The Artistry of G.F.Handel

(1685-1759)

First Part

Halle - Hamburg - Rome 1690-1712

It's hard today to speak about Handel's life and works without mentioning the similarities between him and Bach; first of all they were born in the same year:1685, even if it's not a case than the most geniuses of the late baroque era (Couperin, Telemann Scarlatti ) would have almost been all co-aged.Neverhless unlike Bach, Handel immortalised the name of a family of cheesemakers or of the Prince of Saxony's barber/surgeon -his father. And really it was under the influence and the strong expectations of the latter that like many other aspirants gentlemen, the young Haendel enrolled the university of Halle as a law student. But after his father death he decided not to pursue the legal career and began instead to perfection those skills as a musician which some three years of lessons taken in his hometown from the reknown organ player Wilhelm Zachau had awakened in him

When in 1703 Haendel eventually left Halle and went to Hamburg as a violino in ripeno (an ordinary violin player in an orchestra) his bad talent as a lawyer and good skills as an artist, both characterizing every sudden and proverbial decision taken by him in the future were both proved.

At those times Hamburg, the mercantile capital city of Northern Germany, was well known also for its Gansenmarkt Thater (literally: 'Theatre at the goose market'), which workers were yet trying to create the millenary dream in advance of Goethe by combining Italian creativity with German methodology. And what better even if "oleographic" example can be brought to this aim if not the librettos of the operas represented at the Gansenmarkt Theater between 1700 and 1720 ehich appear to be written in German with the execption of the Italian "belcanto" arias. A Ture master in this mixed and eclectic genre, neglecting the lutheran poetry (preferred by Bach) in favour of the Italian an Viennese writers (Zeno, Pariati, Pasquini etc.) was Reinhard Keiser who, naturally, claimed to be the master to all the new-comers, including Haendel who far from accepting this rule, successfully sought the friendship and maecenatism by Gian Gastone de Medici (1671- 1737) , son of the Grand Duke of Tuscany: Cosimo III. And in what it seems it was in this environment that The young Haendel met Johann Mattheson, the most reknow...

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...ovanni" (represented only in Prague in 1787) could only be hosted by the Dublin Catholic Theatre and never saw the glories of the Covent Garden where at those times the Neapolitan composer Niccolò Porpora, together with his pupil Roberto Farinelli had come to triumph and to outhshine Haendel himself.

If the Same Farinelli is said to have taken the party of Haendel during one of the not infrequent "Querelles" made by the supporters of Theatre of nobility against modern impresarios, Haendel accused to have conspired against the king together with the so called Jacobites didn't take much success anymore and in 1745 the representation of the beautiful opera Hercules had to be cancelled from tghe program of the Kings Theatre. So outshined by history the Master died in 1759 of the same blindness which had affected Bach after having arranged the last representation of the Messiah and having composed other oratorios such as: Judas Maccabeus (1742), Alexander Balus (1748), Susanna (1749), Theodora (1750), Jephta (1752) . It's not a case then if the latter appear to be a quotation of the most famous Italian Oratorio ever Written Jephte (1749) by Giacomo Carissimi
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