George Frideric Handel

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What the English like is something that they can beat time to.

Georg Friedrich Händel (February 23 1685April 14 1759) was a German-born composer who moved first to Italy and then to England. On taking British nationality he Anglicized his name to George Frideric Handel.


Sourced[edit]

  • Whether I was in my body or out of my body I know not. God knows it!
    • Quoted in The Harvard Magazine (December 1862), p. 141.
    • On composing the "Hallelujah Chorus" in 1741.
  • I did think I did see all heaven before me, and the great God himself.
    • Horatio Townsend An Account of the Visit of Handel to Dublin (1852) p. 93, citing Laetitia Matilda Hawkins Anecdotes, Biographical Sketches and Memoirs vol. 1 (1822).
    • His reply on being asked what his feelings were while writing the "Hallelujah Chorus".
  • I should be sorry if I only entertained them, I wish to make them better.
    • James Beattie, letter of May 25, 1780, published in William Forbes An Account of the Life and Writings of James Beattie, LL.D. (1806) p. 331.
    • In reply to Lord Kinnoull, who had complimented him on his Messiah, "the noble entertainment which he had lately given the town". Beattie had this on the authority of Kinnoull himself.
  • You have taken far too much trouble over your opera. Here in England that is mere waste of time. What the English like is something that they can beat time to, something that hits them straight on the drum of the ear.
    • Richard Alexander Streatfeild Handel (2005) p. 195, citing Anton Schmid Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck (1854) p. 29
    • In conversation with Gluck.

Criticism[edit]

  • Er ist der Meister von uns allen!
    • This man is the master of us all.
    • Haydn, at a performance of Messiah. Quoted in John Galt George the Third, His Court and Family (1824) p. 34, and in Leopold Schmidt Joseph Haydn (1898) p. 86.
  • Händel ist der unerreichte Meister aller Meister. Gehen Sie und lernen Sie von ihm, wie gewaltige Wirkungen mit einfachen Mitteln zu erreichen ist.
    • Händel is the unattained master of all masters. Go and learn from him how to achieve vast effects with simple means.
    • Beethoven, quoted by Ignaz von Seyfried. Published in Friedrich Kerst Beethoven der Mann und der Künstler, wie in seinen Eigenen Words enthüllt no. 111 [1]; Friedrich Kerst (trans. Henry Edward Krehbiel) Beethoven, the Man and the Artist, as Revealed in his own Words (1964), p. 54.
  • Händel ist der größte Komponist, der je lebte. Ich würde meine Kopfbedeckung abnehmen und auf seinem Grab knien.
    • Händel is the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head and kneel on his grave.
    • Beethoven, speaking to J. A. Stumpff in the autumn of 1823. Published in Friedrich Kerst Beethoven der Mann und der Künstler, wie in seinen Eigenen Words enthüllt no. 112 [2]; Friedrich Kerst (trans. Henry Edward Krehbiel) Beethoven, the Man and the Artist, as Revealed in his own Words (1964), p. 54.
  • Händel ist der Größte und Fähigste aller Komponisten; von ihm kann ich immer noch lernen.
    • Händel is the greatest and ablest of all composers; from him I can still learn.
    • Beethoven on his deathbed, speaking to Gerhard von Breuning. Published in Friedrich Kerst Beethoven der Mann und der Künstler, wie in seinen Eigenen Words enthüllt no. 111 [3]; Friedrich Kerst (trans. Henry Edward Krehbiel) Beethoven, the Man and the Artist, as Revealed in his own Words (1964), p. 54.
  • His hallelujahs open the heavens. He utters the word "Wonderful," as if all their trumpets spoke together. And then, when he comes to earth, to make love amidst nymphs and shepherds (for the beauties of all religions found room within his breast), his strains drop milk and honey, and his love is the youthfulness of the Golden Age.
  • Handel is so great and so simple that no one but a professional musician is unable to understand him.
  • Handel paralysed music in England for generations and they have not yet quite got over him.
  • Every Englishman believes that Handel now occupies an important position in heaven. If so, le bon Dieu must feel toward him very much as Louis Treize felt toward Richelieu.

External links[edit]

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