Page:Romain Rolland Handel.djvu/103

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95
HIS LIFE

only with a single but with combined choirs.[1] 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.[2] 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,[3] 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Especially in the Allegro and in certain Concerti Grossi.