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Handel

Overview

George Frideric Handel was a defining figure of the late Baroque era, shaping its music for the theatre in much the same way J. S. Bach dominated the writing of music for use in church. Perhaps best known for bringing the oratorio form to an English-speaking audience with masterworks such as Messiah, Handel also had a distinguished career as a composer of Italian operas, and furthermore found time to influence the development of orchestral music by writing such works as the Water Music and Music for the Royal ...
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Handel

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Overview

George Frideric Handel was a defining figure of the late Baroque era, shaping its music for the theatre in much the same way J. S. Bach dominated the writing of music for use in church. Perhaps best known for bringing the oratorio form to an English-speaking audience with masterworks such as Messiah, Handel also had a distinguished career as a composer of Italian operas, and furthermore found time to influence the development of orchestral music by writing such works as the Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks. Donald Burrows's new biography relates Handel's life and his music, devoting particular attention to two crucial junctures in Handel's development: his transition from a church-trained musician in Germany to a successful opera composer in London, and the gradual transformation of his theatre career from opera to oratorio, some thirty years later. In the oratorio form, as Burrows demonstrates, Handel was able to combine the techniques of large-scale construction and of aria writing that he had developed in his operas with an experience of choral music that went back to his earliest training as a church organist. The result was music that succeeds to this day in capturing the imagination of a vast audience. The last half-century has seen Handel take a major place in modern musical scholarship. This book takes into account not only recent knowledge of historical sources and significant studies of Handel's major works, but also research on Handel's "borrowing" practices, his habit of using the existing musical ideas of other composers as well as his own. Yet Handel remains unsurpassed as one of the greatest compositional architects in the history of Western music, with a sure instinct for both balance and originality in the final result. In this insightful study, Donald Burrows brings to life not only the glory of Handel's artistry, but also his sometimes elusive personality, and the flavor of the times and places in which he lived.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Master Musicians series, which provides an in-depth, and admirably accessible survey of the lives and music of great composers, has become something of a classic in the music biography genre. There is a wide-ranging detailed analysis of Handel's operatic style ... Donald Burrows' Handel is a welcome addition to what has already proved itself to be an excellent, authoritative series of musical biographies."--Judith Eagle, Classical Music

"Burrows makes a valuable contribution towards restoring the balance...Burrows skilfully interweaves Handel's 'outward' biography with the 'inner' one of his creative life, linking the two aspects chronologically in irregularly alternating chapters. In this way the reader can conveniently use the book either as biography or as a commentary on the music...this is a considerable achievement. Burrows's study of Handel,...provides us with a deeply informative and well-balanced composition."--BBC Music

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199737369
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2012
  • Series: Master Musicians Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 656
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald Burrows is Professor of Music at The Open University. He serves on the board of the Georg-Friedrich-Handel-Gesellschaft, and is the editor of many editions of Handel's music (some published by OUP's music dept.).

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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Figures
Preface
1 Germany, 1685-1706
2 Italy and Hanover, 1706-10
3 Music for Germany and Italy, 1706-10
4 London: The first decade, 1711-19
5 The music, 1711-19
6 The 'Academy' years, 1720-32
7 The music of the 'Academy years
Operas
Other works
8 The transitional decade I: Competition, 1732-7
9 The transitional decade II: Confusion, 1737-41
10 The music, 1732-41
Operas
Oratorios and odes
Church music
Instrumental music
11 The oratorio composer 1: Dublin and London, 1741-5
12 The oratorio composer II: Towards victory, 1745-9
13 The music of the 1740s
Theatre music
Other works
14 The final decade I: The last major works, 1749-51
15 The final decade II: A career completed
Appendices
A Calendar
B List of works
C Personalia
D The ruling houses of Hanover, Britain and Prussia
E A London Opera-goer in 1728
F Select bibliography
Index

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