CHAPTER 38. Music in London: George Frideric Handel. George Frideric Handel.
Music in London:
George Frideric Handel
Born in Halle, Germany, at eighteen Handel moved to Hamburg where he played violin and harpsichord in the opera orchestra. There, and later during a four-year sojourn in Italy, he absorbed the musical style and theatrical conventions of Italian opera. Finally, he moved to London, where he composed Italian operas, oratorios, ceremonial music for the royal family, and much instrumental music.
At Handel's time, castrati were among the most demanded and well-paid musicians in Europe. In fact, they sang the most important male roles on the Baroque stage. (Recall that a castrato was a male singer whose larynx and vocal chords had remained small as a result of castration, usually performed between the age of eight and ten.) Among the most famous castrati was Francesco Bernardi, called Senesino, who sang the role of Caesar in Handel's Giulio Cesare.
1. Prophecy and birth of Christ;
2. crucifixion, descent into Hell, and resurrection;
3. the Day of Judgment and the promise of eternal life.
Pastoral aria: a slow aria that evokes the fictional and rustic landscape and characters of the pastoral through distinctive musical characteristics such as