Page:Romain Rolland Handel.djvu/102

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94
GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL

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.[1] 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

  1. 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.