Handel in London
'How refreshing, to read a book about music written for a music lover and not a musicologist. In clear, lucid, entertaining prose, Jane Glover makes those of us who lack musical literacy better understand and appreciate Handel’s divinity.' - Donna Leon, author of Handel's Bestiary and the Inspector Brunetti mysteries.
Handel in London tells the story of a young German composer who in 1712, followed his princely master to London and would remain there for the rest of his life. That master would become King George II and the composer was George Frideric Handel.
Handel, then still only twenty-seven and largely self-taught, would be at the heart of musical activity in London for the next four decades, composing masterpiece after masterpiece, whether the glorious coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest, operas such as Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo and Alcina or the great oratorios, culminating, of course, in Messiah.
Here, Jane Glover, who has conducted Handel’s work in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world, draws on her profound understanding of music and musicians to tell Handel’s story. It is a story of music-making and musicianship, of practices and practicalities, but also of courts and cabals, of theatrical rivalries and of eighteenth-century society. It is also, of course, the story of some of the most remarkable music ever written, music that has been played and sung, and loved, in this country – and throughout the world – for three hundred years.
How refreshing, to read a book about music written for a music lover and not a musicologist. In clear, lucid, entertaining prose, Jane Glover makes those of us who lack musical literacy better understand and appreciate Handel’s divinity.
Handel’s workload leaves one breathless. Reading, in Jane Glover’s beautiful prose, about the astonishing succession of masterpieces he composed is almost overwhelming. As is the schedule for the singers and musicians who learned one lengthy opera whilst performing another. I now have a much clearer picture of the man himself as he adapted his operas to suit the singers at his disposal, rewriting arias and nurturing young artists, and of his generosity in all he did for the Foundling Hospital. I’m full of admiration for the subject of the book, as I am for its author.
Dame Felicity Lott
Behind Jane Glover's baton lurks a brilliant explainer in words, as well as music, able to unravel the threads of musical technique, performance history, and social and political events, exploring each before braiding them tightly together to weave a brightly coloured tapestry of Handel, of his music, and of the world about him. Handel in London is an education, and a delight.