Volkmar

Handel's Music

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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

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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?

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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.]

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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.)

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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.

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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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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.

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.

I have actually been trying very hard to enjoy operas more. But I did listen to "V'adoro pupille", as you kindly recommended Paul Parish, and I do think that the singing and words are lovely. I wouldn't have said 'heart-breakingly beautiful', but then again, I probably don't enjoy opera as much as others do [unfortunately]. When I listened to only the instrumental parts, I found the same feeling I do when listening to Handel's other pieces. ? (I'm sorry-I'm sorry!!) But as for his operas, I will always be willing to listen!

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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.

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.

I have actually been trying very hard to enjoy operas more. But I did listen to "V'adoro pupille", as you kindly recommended Paul Parish, and I do think that the singing and words are lovely. I wouldn't have said 'heart-breakingly beautiful', but then again, I probably don't enjoy opera as much as others do [unfortunately]. When I listened to only the instrumental parts, I found the same feeling I do when listening to Handel's other pieces. ? (I'm sorry-I'm sorry!!) But as for his operas, I will always be willing to listen!

Another of Cleopatra's arias that you might "connect" with is Piangero, la Sorte Mia. Cleopatra is all alone and is mouring where life has taken her. It's a very slow aria but as a contrast the soprano line goes up and down. Very mournfull

(Giulio Cesare is another of my favorite operas)

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A very timely e-note from Paul Taylor just popped into my In-box. It begins

One of Paul Taylor's favorite composers of all time is baroque master George Frideric Handel, whose music the choreographer first used in 1962 with the groundbreaking Aureole, and returned to in 1978 with Airs...

and continues with a recommendation to see Handel's opera Flavio at NYC Opera. It concludes with an offer to save 35% on your tickets (up to four):

Order online and submit promo code FLCG

Call CenterCharge at 212-721-6500 and mention code FLCG

...

FLAVIO PERFORMANCES:

Wed Apr 4 7:30

Fri Apr 6 8:00

Sun Apr 8 1:30

Tue Apr 10 7:30

Thu Apr 12 7:30

Sat Apr 14 1:30

Sat Apr 21 8:00

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My two favorite pieces of Handel vocal music are tied to specific performances: Lawrence Tibbett singing "Where'eer You Walk" from Semele -- alas not available on any available commercial recording I know of; George Jellinek played in on "The Vocal Scene" many years ago -- and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson singing "Ombra mai fu" from Xerxes (also called Serse), which is available on her "Handel Arias" CD. The latter, especially, is so personal. In the March 2007 issue of Opera News, in a review of a posthumous release of "Neruda Songs" by her widower, Peter Lieberson, F. Paul Driscoll wrote,

Hunt Lieberson fills Neruda Songs with sung surpassing tranquility and simplicity, as if she had all the time in the world still left to her. That was her gift: she could make time stop.

Earlier, she brought the same quality to "Ombra mai fu."

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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?

The Balanchine to which you refer was "The Figure in the Carpet" which was created as a response to the opening of the Iranian Trade Mission to the United States, an association which would hardly act as an audience draw today. I only saw it once, when I was a student, and it was sort of confusing, with images from Britain, Persia, France and several places I knew not where. I think that only a few short musical numbers from this work survive in either kinescope or early tape technology.

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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?

The Balanchine to which you refer was "The Figure in the Carpet"

...

I think that only a few short musical numbers from this work survive in either kinescope or early tape technology.

There's a short clip to the Handel section danced by Diana Adams in the PBS Balanchine bio.

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More bargain-priced Handel. Looks like 20% off, plus the new Met Museum Gallery (link to a guided tour on the Met Opera site):

Giulio Cesare...

Today's Times has a quite favorable review of Handel's Giulio Ceasar, including complex audio/video with Ruth Ann Swenson singing and discussing her battle with breast cancer and concerns with her future at the Met. Rather emotional material.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/09/arts/mus...rts&oref=slogin

...And what a stunning opera. In Act II, when Ms. Swenson’s Cleopatra, disguised as the queen’s attendant, spins entrancing lyrical lines in an act of seduction, Mr. Daniels’s captivated Cesare sings, “Not even heaven has a melody to equal such a song.” He was right.

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Sir Thomas Beecham arranged quite a lovely ballet out of Handel, entitled "Love in Bath" about the elopement of Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Elizabeth Linley. It sounds like fun, but I've never heard of a choreographer tackling it. It's only one act, but seems to have "second act problems" in the middle of the show.

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Beecham also set, famously, "The Gods go a-Begging", which was picked up by Ninette de Valois. There's also another of his Handel arrangements out there called "The Origin of Design", which was supposed to be a ballet, but I don't know if anybody ever set it. There's also "Amaryllis", the purpose of which I'm not certain, but it was an orchestration of salon music by Handel written for the family of George II. The "Love in Bath" score is supposedly a suite from an early ballet score, "The Great Elopement". It must have been a very overlong work, as the suite is overlong, as I've suggested above.

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Let's not forget that Taylor also used Handel for "Aureole".

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