(Born at Halle, February 23, 1685;
died at London, April 14, 1759)
MR. GEORG FRIDERIC HANDEL," Mr. Runciman once wrote, "is by far the most superb personage one meets, in the history of music. He alone, of all the musicians, lived his life straight through in the grand manner."1 When Handel wrote "pomposo" on a page, he wrote not idly. What magnificent simplicity in outlines! … For melodic lines of such chaste and noble beauty, such Olympian authority, no one has approached Handel. "Within that circle none durst walk but he." His nearest rival is the Chevalier Gluck.
And this giant of a man could express a tenderness known only to him and Mozart, for Schubert, with all his melodic wealth and sensitiveness, could fall at times into sentimentalism, and Schumann's intimate confessions were sometimes whispered. Handel in his tenderness was always manly. No one has approached him in his sublimely solemn moments! Few composers, if there is anyone, have been able to produce such pathetic or sublime effects by simple means, by a few chords even. He was one of the greatest melodists. His fugal pages seldom seem labored; they are distingushed by amazing vitality and spontaneity. In his slow movements, his instrumental airs, there is a peculiar dignity, a peculiar serenity, and a direct appeal that we find in no other composer.
Would that we could hear more of Handel's music! At present he is known in this country as the composer of The Messiah, the____________________