Music Composers

Georg Friedrich Handel-Part 12

It would take too long to mention all the operas written by Handel during his connection with the Royal Academy of Music. Opposition to Handel grew stronger, and the popular favor seemed to fail him, so that Handel suffered heavy financial losses and, as a consequence of his untiring exertion, also failed markedly in his health. His right arm had become useless from a stroke of palsy. After a cure in Aix-la-Chapelle he recovered and, returning to London in 1735, devoted himself to that work which raised him to a position of the highest eminence among the composers of the world. Although nearly 60 years old, he showed in the last years of his life the greatest creative power. The oratorios, Saul and Israel in Egypt (supposed to have been written in twenty-eight days), belong to this period. Following Israel came the ode L'Allegro, il Pensieroso ed il Moderato. To the Irish belongs the honor of having first performed the Messiah, the most sublime and popular of all Handel's oratorios. Handel wrote this work especially for Dublin, where it was given for the first time in 1742. Such a crowd was expected to hear the first production that the following notice appeared in Faulkner's Journal:

"This day will be performed Mr. Handel's new grand sacred oratorio called the Messiah. The doors will be open at eleven, and the performance begin at twelve. The stewards of the Charitable Musical Society request as a favor of the ladies not to come with hoops this day to the Musik Hall in Fishamble Street. The gentlemen are requested to com without their swords."

This courteous accommodation on the part of the ladies and gentlemen, it was declared, would enable the stewards to seat one hundred persons more.

On the 6th of April, 1759, Handel directed the performance of the Messiah at the Covent Garden Theater, and after the performance was over he was seized with a deathly faintness, and on returning home he was placed in his bed, from which he was destined no more to arise.

The Etude Magazine June 1920






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