Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Handel and back in full swing

You simply can't get away from it. Handel was probably one of history's greatest tune writer. He could pen a melody which after one hearing becomes like an old friend. I was teaching my alto post lady on Monday and we discovered the melody of her newest song together, and after a few times it just seems to go exactly where one wants it too. Why is Handel's music just so comforting we asked each other? I have no real answers, but throughout my singing life his music, whether the Messiah and oratorio or Orlando and opera, the tunes simply wrap around one.

From his simplest of arias such as Dove Sei, or Art Thou Troubled in the popular English version through to the sparkling Dopo Notte from Ariodante, about which I have written before, we feel secure in the direction the music is taking, and somehow it makes one inwardly smile and thus achieve a core confidence.

I imagine many erudite academic musicians have written numberless papers on Handel and his style, and I certainly have nothing to offer on the academic front (!). What I have to offer is purely based on many years of simply loving to sing music by the man. My very first song in my very first singing lesson was the lovely Silent Worship, and I remember sitting in the back of our family car singing away to myself this gorgeous and beautifully constructed song, and hearing my father say to my mother something along the lines of ' well I think the money for singing lessons is definitely worth it' ! Perhaps it was the song which made me sing with confidence and joy, perhaps Handel made me the singer I was to become.

I teach Silent Worship all the time in my job, and never, never tire of it. Four pages of pleasure, skill and comfort. Everyone should know that song!

Here is a list of some of the easier Handel songs to have a go at

Lascia chio Pianga
He shall Feed His Flock
Dove Sei
Silent Worship
Come and Trip it
Care Selve
Where ere you Walk
Come unto Him

Feel free to comment and add your own favourites !

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