Handel (Rolland)/His Life

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Handel (Rolland) by Romain Rolland
His Life
GEORGE FREDERICK

HANDEL


HIS LIFE


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 Frederick.

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 thirty-four.[3]

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 Matheson,[10] "and is possessed of as much talent as beneficence."

· · · · ·

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 wavelike 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 him.

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 emulatation. 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 Bernhart, 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, Reinhärd 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 alone.[44]

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 teachers.

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, Keiser'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, 1713.

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 dynasty.

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.

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 Queen.[234]

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 Ms 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 springtime.

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, 1743.

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 dedicated.

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 England.

. . . . . .

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 fortune.

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, 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 semiconsciousness 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 Truth.[273]

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] bequeath-
text= HANDEL'S MONUMENT IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY(In the "Poet's Corner.")

HANDEL'S MONUMENT IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY.
(In the "Poets' Corner.")

ing 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 Killer 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 Greece.[283]


  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 Zachoff.
  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 by 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 œlterer 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 variations.
  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. Ruche, 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 and Bass, sechs Stück) dating from this period (Volume 28 of the Complete Handel Edition).

  21. See his beautiful air for bass in the Cantata Lobe den Herrn, p. 164
  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 independant 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 Thomasius.
  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 slowly!"
  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'Opera avant Lully et Scarlatti, 1895, pp. 217-222.
  40. Reinhärd 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: Reinhärd 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 character.
  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 schwangre 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 Italian.
  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. Kapellm.).
  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 Römische 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 Medici).
  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,
  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. Andimolo, 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 ladies.
  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 him.
  108. Corelli took the first violin, and Francischiello, the violoncello.
  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 Cross.
  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. Andimollo 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 Vieville 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 people.
  132. The orchestra was composed chiefly of French musicians, and they were conducted by a Frenchman, Jean Baptiste Farinel, son-in-law of Cambert.
  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 Indies.
  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 Bonduca.
  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 1708.
  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 Dusseldorf 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 choruses.
  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 1720.
  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 Crœsus, 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 musical.
  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, 1726).
  202. The Director of the Drury Lane Theatre, Colley Gibber, 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 RinaldoThe 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, 1907).
  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 enfants 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 circumstances.
  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 Holland.
  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 choruses.
  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 Mile Prévost, and made her début in 1725 with Rich. See the study of M. Emile Dacier: Une danseuse française à 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 Prevost wrote exactly at this same period in Le Pour et le Centre (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 slie 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 (December).
  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 voices.
  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.11, 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 maintenance 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 organ.
  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 Corneille.
  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 Flœrchen, of Gotha, nee 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 Gardens.
  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 Fasch.
  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 Monaiskefte 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.