Music Composers

Georg Friedrich Handel-Part 8

On this occasion I must point out that it was quite customary with Handel to borrow from his own works. Some historians go so far as to assert that he sometimes genially borrowed from the works of other composers.

The Italian visit (1707-1710) was one of the most important events in Handel's career, as it was the means of coloring his style for the rest of his life and giving it a fluency \and suavity and grace which it is questionable if it would otherwise have possessed. Also, his fondness for painting had its origin at this time. Also, his practical advantage of the visit was the mastery he acquired of the Italian language and writing. Here begins the great diverging line which so substantially differentiates Handel from Bach. Bach, never having placed himself in contact with the Italian masters and their compositions, preserved the Teutonic sternness and methodical austerity, while Handel added to his German erudition Italian beauty and grace.

Handel stayed first in Florence, where he brought out his first purely Italian opera, Rodrigo, which was received by the Florentines with the greatest delight, and the Grand Duke of Tuscany showed his appreciation in the substantial gift to the composer of a hundred sequins and a serve of silver plate. To crown all the prima donna Cittoria Tesi, either on account of the composition or the comeliness of the writer, fell desperately in love with him. Handel did not seriously encourage the attachment of the young diva, but he allowed her to follow him to Venice for the purpose of singing in a new opera which he had prepared for the theater St. Chrysostom, of that city. It is peculiar that no woman seems to have occupied the smallest place in the long career ofhis life. The historians agree that Vittoria was beautiful and charming enough to turn the head of a young man of twenty-four, but Handel's heart seems to have been ironclad against Cupid's arrows.

The Etude Magazine June 1920






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