Handel’s speedy method

Morrell gave Handel the words of Cleopatra’s air “Convey me to some peaceful shore” in Alexander Balus, he cried out “Damn your Iambics!”. Morell offered to change them to trochees and went into the next room to do so, only to find about three minutes later that Handel had set them as they stood.”

Dean, Winton (1995) “George Friederic Handel”, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan, vol. 8, p.104.




Featured Content

Behind the Screen
Title: Behind the Screen (silent film soundtrack) Composer: Greg Smith Instrumentation: Piano Product medium: PDF score (45 pages) Background: Written by: Vincent Bryan, Charlie Chaplin, Maverick Terrell Starring: Eric Campbell, Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance Film released: 1916 Sample:
The line and the harmony
Phrases have their own topography—they move forward with the line but also remain wedded to the ground with each change of harmony, and this is where the battle lies, why each piece of music grapples with its own destructive potential, why beauty is never what it appears to be. — Simon Tedeschi S. Tedeschi, Fugitive, […]
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, from The Wizard of Oz, is now a classic, inspiring song, but its had to believe the beginnings were not so smooth: …it was decided that standard melodies of a popular accessible kind , without gimmicks, would best suit the story, and its star [Judy Garland].  Harold Arlen and E. Y. […]
Page turning for Beethoven
Ignaz Xaver Seyfried was asked to turn pages for Beethoven in a performance of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto (5 April 1803). He recalled: In the playing of the concerto movements he asked me to turn the pages for him; but – heaven help me! – that was easier said than done. I saw almost nothing […]
Beethoven as a boy
In his Beethoven: Biography of a Genius, Marek provides an insight into Beethoven as a boy: The boy was looking out of the window, his head cradled in his hands.  His mien was serious, his glance rigid. Cäcilia Fischer came along the courtyard and saw him. “How are you, Ludwig?” she shouted up to him.  […]
Without music
“Without music, life would be a mistake.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, in Twilight of the Idols
Performance anxiety
“There is no anxiety in the present. Anxiety is either in the past, worrying about what was just played, or in the future, worrying about what you are about to play. Nothing can be done about either! Don’t judge or evaluate while you’re performing.” — Charles Schlueter, principal trumpet with the Boston Symphony. Cited in: […]
The nature of music
“A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.” – W. H. Auden, English Poet Auden, Wystan Hugh ‎(1988) The Complete Words of Auden, Princeton University Press, vol. 3, p. 251.
The beginning and the end
“Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.” – Joseph Joubert, French writer Joubert, J. (1983) The Notebooks of Joseph Joubert: A Selection. Translated by Paul Auster. San Francisco: North Point Press, p. 76.
Appreciating beauty
Music exists only in a passing of time, racing past us like the mid-nineenth-century trains Ruskin so hated. It is utterly non-fixed, and to focus on one moment is to destroy the whole. It is a forest that we have to pass through, not a single tree that we can contemplate or capture. But, if […]