Music Composers

Georg Friedrich Handel-Part 1

It is intentional that I let my last article on Johann Sebastian Bach be immediately followed by one on Georg Friedrich Handel because both show a striking parallelism at the beginning of their life. Both were born in the same year, 1685, both were of German birth, both commenced their career as organists. On the other hand, their development, the style of their works, diverged substantially from each other. The comparison between these two giants of German art gives us the proof that influences and external circumstances can mould genius into quite different shapes. We see in one, Bach, the plain organist, living in a kind of domestic hermitage, the pure religious trend prevailing during his whole life; in Handel, on the contrary, the smiling sky of Italy beautifying, illuminating his inspirations, making him more attractive to the majority of his contemporaries. England, where Handel resided for nearly fifty years, honored him as her own son, anglicized his name to read George Frederick Handel, and even today his works are predominant in English concert programs. In outward honors, in the recognition by his contemporaries, in the earning of worldly goods there in no doubt that Handel reaped in his day a far richer harvest than Bach.

Receding more and more from their time, however, history is wavering as to whom of the two to grant the palm.

The Etude Magazine June 1920






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