George F. Handel

The Artistry of G.F.Handel
(1685-1759)
First Part

Halle - Hamburg - Rome 1690-1712
It's hard today to speak about Handel's life and works without mentioning the similarities between him and Bach; first of all they were born in the same year:1685, even if it's not a case than the most geniuses of the late baroque era (Couperin, Telemann Scarlatti ) would have almost been all co-aged.Neverhless unlike Bach, Handel immortalised the name of a family of cheesemakers or of the Prince of Saxony's barber/surgeon -his father. And really it was under the influence and the strong expectations of the latter that like many other aspirants gentlemen, the young Haendel enrolled the university of Halle as a law student. But after his father death he decided not to pursue the legal career and began instead to perfection those skills as a musician which some three years of lessons taken in his hometown from the reknown organ player Wilhelm Zachau had awakened in him
When in 1703 Haendel eventually left Halle and went to Hamburg as a violino in ripeno (an ordinary violin player in an orchestra) his bad talent as a lawyer and good skills as an artist, both characterizing every sudden and proverbial decision taken by him in the future were both proved.
At those times Hamburg, the mercantile capital city of Northern Germany, was well known also for its Gansenmarkt Thater (literally: 'Theatre at the goose market'), which workers were yet trying to create the millenary dream in advance of Goethe by combining Italian creativity with German methodology. And what better even if "oleographic" example can be brought to this aim if not the librettos of the operas represented at the Gansenmarkt Theater between 1700 and 1720 ehich appear to be written in German with the execption of the Italian "belcanto" arias. A Ture master in this mixed and eclectic genre, neglecting the lutheran poetry (preferred by Bach) in favour of the Italian an Viennese writers (Zeno, Pariati, Pasquini etc.) was Reinhard Keiser who, naturally, claimed to be the master to all the new-comers, including Haendel who far from accepting this rule, successfully sought the friendship and maecenatism by Gian Gastone de Medici (1671- 1737) , son of the Grand Duke of Tuscany: Cosimo III. And in what it seems it was in this environment that The young Haendel met Johann Mattheson, the most reknowned and inspired musical critic of his time as well as the finest connoisseur of Telemann's music . Also the Hamburghese poet Johannes Brockes , whose twxt in the next 1704 Haendel would have transcribed into the beautiful music of his "Brockes Passion" appeared to have been introduced to him by Mattheson. So after this debout Haendel did not have to wait long for operatic success at the Gansenmarkt. since yet in 1705, he directed there "Nero" and "Almira", the latter being intentionally and mischievously based above the same libretto on which in during those weeks Keiser too was said to be working..... As if that wasn't enough, before leaving Hamburg for his first Italienreise (which Bach never did), Handel composed two more operas: "Florindo" and "Daphne"and reached in outshining Keiser on his own territory but he had to leave under the motivation of an Italienreise which Bach never did. Gastone de Medici was waiting for him at Florence where Haendel first successful "Italian" opera: "Rodrigo" was staged. The master neverthless meant to travel in Rome where as guest of Corelli's sponsors, Cardinals Pamhilii and Ottoboni, he represented his first oratorios: "Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno" (lately re-represented in London as "The Triumph of Time and Truth") and "La Resurrezione" played during the Easter of 1708 in the church of San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome. there according to his biographers Haendel also improvised at the organ some of those Concertos which had to be lately included in his Opus IV and VIII. The greatest success ever, "il Sassone"as Haendel would have nciknamed by the Italian opera fans He had to achieve it 120 miles south of Rome, at Naples where the successful 27 replicas of his new opera: "Agrippina" made him to fully "graduate" as an operist. Really Haendel had to be numbered among the most reknowed Italian operists if the Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani, the cousin of the last duke of Mantua and like him one of the greatest employers of singer both at his own