February 23, 2017
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) composed his oratorio Solomon in 1748, and the sinfonia that introduces the third act, “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba,” turned out to be one of his greatest hits. Originally scored for oboes and strings, the piece has been adapted to any number of instruments and combinations of instruments, including even some instruments that did not exist in the eighteenth century when the piece was composed. I especially like this version for solo harp (an instrument that has been with us since Biblical times).
February 23, 2016
It’s the 331st birthday of the English baroque composer George Frideric Handel. Although he was born in what is now Germany, and spent several years in Italy, he made the eminently sensible decision as a young man to move to England, where he spent the remainder of his life. He enjoyed a long and successful career as a composer, producing forty-two operas, twenty-nine oratorios, sixteen organ concerti, and many other compositions. When he died at the age of seventy-four, more than three thousand mourners attended his funeral, and his remains were interred in Westminster Abbey.
Handel composed the Music for the Royal Fireworks in 1749 for King George II, to celebrate the signing of the treaty that ended the War of the Austrian Succession. Here is the fourth movement from the suite.
December 3, 2014
Of all the many versions of the Hallelujah Chorus with subtitles I’ve seen, this one, performed by residents of Quinhagak, Alaska, is my favorite — the cringe-inducing misplaced apostrophes notwithstanding.
December 22, 2013
One roast beef sandwich coming right up. Would you like some Handel with it?