Friday, June 22, 2012

Handel by Christopher Hogwood

by Christopher Hogwood

This is a biography of the composer most famous for Messiah.  Hogwood a conductor and musician does a pretty good job of sifting through the various available sources to give us a picture of the man.  Unfortunately Handel didn't produce much material and what he did so often played fast and loose with what actually happened.  So there's a lot of third party information.

As far as the music much is made of Handel's operas.  I can't really speak to the musical assessments I actually found the discussion of infighting and politics between the various operatic companies to be one of the best parts of the book.  Overlaid as it was by the different factions of British royalty.  Messiah is glossed over as far as a piece of music instead it's considered within its religious context.  Could something with religious themes be shown as a secular entertainment?  Did that devalue its religious aspect?  Something that doesn't seem to come up that often these days if anything it's usually the other way around can something secular be used for religious instruction...

The book concludes with why Handel who after all was German has been embraced so much by the British.  Hogwood argues that it was because he portrayed the best of what the British thought of themselves.  That anyone with the requisite talent could be a success in their chosen field.


No comments: