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Handel
     

Handel

by Donald Burrows
 

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Handel is one of the most remarkable figures in the history of western music. His compositions form one of the peaks of creative achievement in the Baroque period, and cover a remarkable range: full-scale Italian operas and English oratorios (including Messiah), but also shorter works such as the Water Music and the Coronation Anthem Zadok the Priest. His

Overview

Handel is one of the most remarkable figures in the history of western music. His compositions form one of the peaks of creative achievement in the Baroque period, and cover a remarkable range: full-scale Italian operas and English oratorios (including Messiah), but also shorter works such as the Water Music and the Coronation Anthem Zadok the Priest. His compositional processes were often complex, but could result in accessible and memorable 'hit tunes', such as the aria that subsequently became famous as 'Handel's Largo'. His life and career were as remarkable as his music. Born in Germany to a family that reputedly tried to discourage his initial interest in music, he broke away to seek his fortune in Italian opera, and proceeded to gain first-hand experience of the latest Italian styles in Rome, Florence, Venice and Naples. A series of career moves brought him via Hanover to London, where he eventually settled and dominated the city's musical life for half a century. There he quickly made his mark in English church music as well as Italian opera, and eventually created two new musical genres--English theatre oratorio and the organ concerto. Handel is important also because, as a musician, he also became a significant public figure. In Rome he attracted the patronage of princes and cardinals; soon after his arrival in London he appeared at the court of Queen Anne, and he subsequently enjoyed substantial support from the "Hanoverian" royal family. He survived turbulent periods in the musical and political life of London, reached a wider public through publications of his music, died a rich man and was buried in Westminster Abbey. This biography provides a comprehensive and balanced account of both the man and his music, drawing on the unusually rich legacy of documentary and musical sources from Handel's lifetime. This new edition of a book that has been recognized as a 'classic' biography of Handel, reliable on the factual details of the composer's life and comprehensive in the coverage of his music, incorporates a great deal of new material. The last half century has seen a great renewal of research on the circumstances of Handel's life, and a major expansion in performances and recordings of his music. The book brings together the results of this scholarly activity, and is informed by wide experience of modern performances of Handel's music, including the revival of his operas and experimentation with 'authentic' performance practices.

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199780082
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
07/01/2010
Series:
Master Musicians Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,173,739
File size:
20 MB
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Meet the Author

Donald Burrows is a leading authority on the life and music of George Frideric Handel. His book Handel and the English Chapel Royal has been recognised as the first full-scale study of Handel's English church music. His published editions of Handel's music include the oratorios Messiah, Samson, and Belshazzar; the operas Imeneo and Ariodante; the complete violin sonatas; and the suite for two harpsichords.

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