Music Composers

Georg Friedrich Handel-Part 4

Handel's Royal Admirers

Acting on the advice of Zachau, Handel started for Berlin in 1696, when he was little more than ten years old. The visit was of importance to him in more than one respect. Berlin was just then the center of German art, and opera especially was in flourishing condition. The Elector Frederick and his wife, Sophia Charlotte, were enthusiastic music lovers, who kept the court continually enlivened with music and dance. By the encouragement which they gave to singers and composers they drew to Berlin some of the most eminent musicians of their time, among them Attilio Ariosti and Giovanne Buononcini had obtained high favor. With both of them Handel soon made intimate acquaintance. Little George delighted the Elector and the Electress by the beauty of his performances, causing some jealousy in Buononcini, while Ariosti conceived an affectionate interest for the youthful prodigy, frequently holding him on his knees for hours together at the harpsichord and imparting to him many valuable hints for his future guidance. Ariosti himself was a brilliant executant on the harpsichord.

So fully was the genius of Handel recognized at the court of Berlin that the Elector offered to take him into his service as one of the musicians of his orchestra. With this in view he proposed to send Handel, at his own expense, to Italy, where he might be perfected under the best masters. This offer was declined by Handel's father, either on account of his independence of spirit, or because he still cherished a hope of making a lawyer of his son and wished to avoid such an irrevocable step. After the refusal of the Elector's offer, Handel could not remain in Berlin any longer. He therefore returned to Halle and settled down once more to his musical studies, now left entirely to his own resources.

The Etude Magazine June 1920






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