Page:Romain Rolland Handel.djvu/154

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144
GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL

and living, modifying itself at the concert, as the two sensibilities the artist and the public—came into touch with one another.[1] It is necessary then to preserve In this music a certain measure of the character of living improvisation. What we too often do, on the contrary, is to petrify them. One cannot say that they are a caricature of the work of Handel. They are rather a negation of it. When one studies with a minute care every detail of the work, when one has attained from the orchestra a precision of attack, an ensemble, a justness, an irreproachable finish, we have yet done nothing more than raise up the mere figure of this genial improvisator.

Further, there is with his instrumental music, as with his vocal music, nearly always an intimate and picturesque expression. For Handel, as with Ms friend Geminiani, "the aim of instrumental music is not only to please the ear, but to express the sentiments, the emotions, to paint the feelings,"[2] It reflects not only the interior world, but it also turns to the actual spectacle of things.[3] It is a

  1. All his contemporaries agree in praising the wonderful genius with which Handel adapted himself instinctively in his improvisations to the spirit of his audience. Like all the greatest Virtuosos he soon placed himself in the closest spiritual communion with his public; and, so to speak, they collaborated together.
  2. Geminiani's Preface to his Ecole de violon, or The Art of Playing on the Violin, Containing all the Rules necessary to attain to Perfection on that Instrument, with great variety of Compositions, which will also be very useful to those who study the violoncello, harpsichord, etc Composed by F. Geminiani, Opera IX, London, MDCCLI.
  3. Geminiani himself had attempted to represent in music the pictures of Raphael and the poems of Tasso.