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Handel's Music


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#1 Volkmar

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 12:43 PM

Whenever I listen to some music by G.F. Handel I fell kinaesthetic reactions in my body; they cause me to start moving or even dancing. Can anyone tell me why this happens through Handel's music (and not so much by the way of listening e.g. to Bach's music)?

Greetings from Innsbruck,

Volkmar

#2 carbro

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 12:57 PM

No, because I tend to have the opposite response, vis-a-vis Bach. :flowers:

#3 zerbinetta

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 01:50 PM

Perhaps it has something to do with the first music one hears at a tender age when music makes us want to move? For me it was Mozart.

#4 artist

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 02:48 PM

I suppose it's the composition. The way one composes with certain instruments and the harmony that results may make us feel and react differently.

I guess we like certain music because it's how that piece makes us feel. For ex., I like melancholy music because of much sadness I've experienced; I can definitely react and relate. Handel, on the other hand - or note in this case - drives me crazy. The whirl of flutes and harpsichords, too much for my mind. But perhaps others like it because of an enlightening superior quality that reacts as brilliancy.

The reaction - I like music I can relate to, but maybe others like music [like handel] that can bring them to another world or higher feeling, one that doesn't make them feel total sadness, etc. but something of importance or royal greatness - like a queen's coronation.

We all feel differently!

#5 Mashinka

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 05:33 AM

I don't agree with Artist's assessment at all. I find no lack of emotion in Handel’s works - quite the contrary. His operas are sublime.

#6 zerbinetta

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 05:51 AM

I'm in total agreement here with Mashinka.

Artist: have you listened to any of Handel's operas? Some of those arias can break your heart. Some would make you laugh. Most are meltingly beautiful.

Maybe you might give Handel another chance.

#7 papeetepatrick

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 08:02 AM

But perhaps others like it because of an enlightening superior quality that reacts as brilliancy.

The reaction - I like music I can relate to, but maybe others like music [like handel] that can bring them to another world or higher feeling, one that doesn't make them feel total sadness, etc. but something of importance or royal greatness - like a queen's coronation.

We all feel differently!


This was quite well-said by artist about Handel, though, and actually makes me appreciate it more than I did before. I'm slightly startled, but artist's use of words is eloquent: 'an enlightening superior quality that reacts as brilliancy' is most inspiring. Handel is very extroverted, and even though the 'heart-breaking' things can be found in Handel, too, as pointed out by Mashinka and Zerbinetta, these triumphal things are worth giving a thought to--although I don't dislike Handel, he's a composer I realize I never give a single thought to. After this, I still don't really want to listen to all that much, but I think I understand him better.

#8 Helene

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 08:07 AM

I love Handel's music, and occasionally some of it makes me feel like moving -- and, occasionally, like "Queen of Sheba" makes me imagine figure skating -- but in general, apart from genius uses like Balanchine's in Figure in the Carpet, I don't think of it for formal dance. The da capo format, in which the first and second parts constrast, and the third is an ornamented version of the first, poses the same difficulties as much of Chopin's music: by the time the dancer(s) create the mood of the first, they have to catch their breath and do a 180 degree change.

#9 drb

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:18 AM

Sometimes it takes a choreographer-soul mate of the composer to reveal that hidden (to us, or at least to me) dimension that blooms craft into glory. For Handel, Paul Taylor?

#10 Ray

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:32 AM

I love Handel's music, and occasionally some of it makes me feel like moving -- and, occasionally, like "Queen of Sheba" makes me imagine figure skating -- but in general, apart from genius uses like Balanchine's in Figure in the Carpet, I don't think of it for formal dance. The da capo format, in which the first and second parts constrast, and the third is an ornamented version of the first, poses the same difficulties as much of Chopin's music: by the time the dancer(s) create the mood of the first, they have to catch their breath and do a 180 degree change.


Well, come to Philly in 2008 and see what Ricky Weiss does with Handel--his Messiah no less!

#11 bart

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:32 AM

I love the joyful Handel -- as, obviously, did Paul Taylor (the wonderful Aureole) and Mark Morris (whose L'Allegro is, for me the part of the evening that gives, by contrast, real power to Il Penseroso and Il Moderato -- the joy of the first is a kind of launching pad and foundation for the greater seriousness of the 2 that follow).

I believe that Balanchine did something for the extroverted Water Music and Fireworks music. Has anyone seen this? How did it go? Is it still in rep?

Handel's music in general seems to open up so many possibilities for exultation, expansiveness, movements out, jumps up, intricate interactions among the dancers. Even Penseroso allows for the exploration of wonderful ways of promenading (alone, deep in thought, or social).

Handel's musical complexity seems made for ensemble choreography, where Morris and Taylor truly excel. I suspect that solos or pas de deux to Handel might be tedious if they went on for long.

I also enjoy Handel's operas quite a bit. Incidentally, Giulio Cesare will be broadcast by the Met on April 21. I first saw this at NYC Opera long ago in the stunning, revelatory, and now historic Triegel-Sills production, and have had a weakness for it ever since.

The sad bits in the operas -- laments, etc. -- I admire but do not respond to emotionally. Not in the heart or in the gut. Probably this does have something to do, as drb suggests, with personal affinities and personality.

The same holds true of Messiah and similar works. I've sat in stunned but respectful admiration during so many long peformances of these pieces --and sung in the chorus a couple of times -- that I've actually come to dread and avoid them. Is there a pathology called "oratoryphobia"?

Any other Handel-based ballets that any of you would recommend? Or works you wish someone would choreograph?

#12 Paul Parish

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:44 AM

How about Mark Morris? Even those who don't much like MM have to admit that they love "L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato." Fabulous music, fabulous choreography.

Artist, let me recommend that you check out Handel's vocal music -- especially his arias. you'll find melancholy there of a kind you wouldn't expect -- SO beautiful, so romantic, really moving. His operas are so rich with emotion. Try "Giulio cesare" -- you may be able to Google "V'adoro pupille," Cleopatra's aria. Heart-breakingly beautiful.

[Bart, we must have been writing at the same time. You are so right.]

#13 Helene

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 10:07 AM

How about Mark Morris? Even those who don't much like MM have to admit that they love "L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato." Fabulous music, fabulous choreography.

It's one of my all-time favorite dance works. MMDG is bringing it to Seattle for two performances with the Seattle Symphony next March (17-18), and I'm going to be in Sweden for the Figure Skating World Championships :blink:

I have to admit, for me, in this work, the music is accompaniment. (Or maybe the genius of the work is that the dance is so tied to the music that I find them inseparable, and think it's all the dance.)

#14 bart

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 10:20 AM

Speaking of The Messiah, Dale has posted the following, from the 2007-08 season of Pennsylvania Ballet:

Messiah: Choreography by Robert Weiss (Music: George Frideric Handel)
Company Premiere!
March 5 – 9
Academy of Music
Broad and Locust Streets

Handel’s most celebrated work comes to life with Messiah, March 5-9, 2008 at the Academy of Music.
Choreographed by Director of the Carolina Ballet Robert Weiss, who served as Artistic Director of
Pennsylvania Ballet from 1982-1990, Messiah opens with a full choir onstage in a skeletal abstraction of
a church. Sun streams through the bare windows of the chapel and dancers slowly appear. With angels
and doves floating about the stage, the work blends an old world charm with contemporary movement
and imagery.

Sounds very ... uplifting, indeed. Perhaps it's there to balance the Ben Stevenson Dracula, also being performed next season. Or as a follow-up to this season'ss similarly iconic choral work (though one that is quite different as to message) Carmina Burana.

#15 Ray

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 12:24 PM

Speaking of The Messiah, Dale has posted the following, from the 2007-08 season of Pennsylvania Ballet:

Messiah: Choreography by Robert Weiss (Music: George Frideric Handel)
Company Premiere!
March 5 – 9
Academy of Music
Broad and Locust Streets

Handel’s most celebrated work comes to life with Messiah, March 5-9, 2008 at the Academy of Music.
Choreographed by Director of the Carolina Ballet Robert Weiss, who served as Artistic Director of
Pennsylvania Ballet from 1982-1990, Messiah opens with a full choir onstage in a skeletal abstraction of
a church. Sun streams through the bare windows of the chapel and dancers slowly appear. With angels
and doves floating about the stage, the work blends an old world charm with contemporary movement
and imagery.

Sounds very ... uplifting, indeed. Perhaps it's there to balance the Ben Stevenson Dracula, also being performed next season. Or as a follow-up to this season'ss similarly iconic choral work (though one that is quite different as to message) Carmina Burana.

Bart, the cynical part of me says you've thought about this a lot more carefully than they did.


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