Victor Schlcher.

The life of Handel online

. (page 1 of 43)
Online LibraryVictor SchlcherThe life of Handel → online text (page 1 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



^-•-V?.'^'i,-V,-^-_^^^V^-^^^- ■'









^/^/ y £a ^'-'^i


The present edition is a faithful reprint of Mr. Schcel-
cher's work, and contains all that is to be found in the
original. It has been deemed necessary, however, to
make some alterations in the arrangement of the matter,
with the view of preserving the biographical sequences,
and separating much that is argumentative from that
which is historical and personal. For this purpose many-
passages have been transferred to the foot of the page,
as notes, which in the original are incorporated in the
body of the work. It is believed that this arrangement
will greatly relieve the reader, and enable him to pursue
the thread of the biography without losing himself in
side discussions and local topics.

Mr. Schoelcher has made extensive researches for this
biography of Handel, and has produced a work of last-
ing value, not only as it relates to that composer, but as
furnishing a curious and very exact insight into the mu-
sical history of England, especially of the period when
Italian opera was introduced into that country.

r>i>^.> i


Collections of Handel's Original MSS. at Buckingham Palace, and
at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Collection of the Scores used by Handel when conducting, and now
in the possession of the Author.

Collection of the "Works of Handel, copied by J. C. Smith, Esq., his
amanuensis, now in the possession of Henry Barrett Lennard, Esq.

A Treatise of MusicTc. By Alex. Malcolm. 8vo. Edinburgh, 1721.

A Pocket Companion for Gentlemen and Ladies ; being a Collection
of the finest Opera Songs and Airs in English and Italian. 2 vols. ;
one small 8vo, the other 8vo. London, Cluer. N.D. (about 1125.)

Poems on Several Occasions. By Henry Carey. Small Svo. 1129.

The Ifusical Miscellany ; being a Collection of Choice Songs. 6 vols,
small Svo. London, T. Watts, 1729-31.

The Opera Miscellany ; bemg a Pocket Collection of Songs, chiefly
composed for the Eoyal Academy of Musick. Small Svo. London,
John Browne. N.D. (about 1730.)

Letters from the Academy of Ancient Mmic at London to Signor An-
tonia Lotti of Venise, loith Answers and Testimonies. A Pamphlet.
London, 1732.

The Oxford Act; a new ballad opera. A Pamphlet. London,

TJie Oxford Act, a.d. 1733 ; being a particular and exact account
of that Solemnity. Pamphlet. London, 1734.

John Hughes's Poems. Small Svo, London, 1735.

The Opera Register, from November, 1712, to 1734. MS. at the
British Museum (Catalogue, 21S, King's MSS.), containing a Ust of the
performances at the Italian Opera. By Francis Colman.

The British Musical Miscellany : or, the Delightfid Grove : being a
Collection of celebrated Enghsh and Scotch Songs. 6 vols. Svo.
London, Walsh, 1734-37.

Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte woran der tuchtigsten Gapellmeister,
Componisten, Musickgelehrten, &c. Yon Mattheson. Hamburg, 1740.

An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Gibber. 1 vol. Svo. Loudon,


The Musical Dictionary. By James Grassineau. 8vo. London.

Universal Harmony; or, the Gentlemen and Ladies'' Social Com-
panion. 1 vol. 4to. J. ISTewbery, London, 1745.

The Art of Composing Music by a method entirely new, suited to the
meanest capacity. Pamphlet. London, 1751.

The Works of the late Aaron Hill 4 vols. 8vo. London, 1753.

Remarks ujjon Musick ; to which are added several observations
upon some of Mr. Handel's Oratorios, and other parts of his works.
By a Lover of Harmony. Worcester, 1758.

The Dramatic Works of Aaron Hill. 4 vols. 8 vo. 1760.

Memoirs of the Life of the late George Frederic Handel. (Mainwar-
ing.) 8vo. London, 1760.

An Account of the Life of Handel, in the Gentleman's Magazine of
April, 1760.

Abstract of the Life of Handel in the London Chronicle, June, 1760.

Clio and Euterpe; or, British Harmony : a Collection of celebrated
Songs and Cantatas. 3 vols, royal 8vo. London, H, Roberts, 1762.

The Companion to the Flayhouse. 2 vols, small 8vo. London,

Dictionnaire de Musique. Par J. J. Rousseau. Paris, 1768.

An Account of the Institution and Progress of the Academy of An-
cient Music. By a Member. Pamphlet, 8vo. London, 1770. (By

Miscellaneous Works of Dr. Arbuihnot. 2 vols. 12mo. London,

Various Joui-nals, the Gentleman^ s Magazine and London Magazine,
from 1710 to 1770.

The Musical Magazine ; or, Compleat Pocket Companion for tJie Years
1767, 68, 69, and 70. 4 vols, small 4to. London, J. Bennett.

A General History of the Science and Practice of Music. By John
Hawkins. 5 vols. 4to. London, l776.^New edition, in 2 vols. 4to,
double columns. Novello, 1853.*

Dramatic Works of Colley Gibber. 5 vols. 12mo. London, 1777.

A. B. C. Dario Musico. Bath, 1780.

* The pagination which I have invariably adopted of Hawkins's History of
Music, whenever it is quoted hy me, is that of Mr. Novello' s new edition, which
is more complete than the previous one, more within the reach of everybody on
account of its price, and, also, because the index with which it is provided facili-
tates research. Whenever the name of Burney occurs as an authority, with a
cipher of pagioation, it is the fourth volume of his Ilistory of Music that is indi-
cated. Whenever any of the first three volumes or his Account of the Com-
memoratio7i of 1784, are referred to, it is specially indicated.


An Account of the Life of Handel, in the European Magazine, March,

An Account of the Musical Performances in Westminster Abbey and
the Pantheon, in Commemoration of Handel. By Charles Burney. 4to.
London, 1785.

llie Messiah. Fifty Discourses on the Scriptural Passages which
form the subject of the celebrated Oratorio of Handel. By John New-
ton. 1786.

A General History of Music. By Charles Bumey, Mus. Doct. 4
vols. 4to. London, 1776 to 1789.

The Play PocJcet Companion; or, Tlieairical Vade Mecum. London,

A Complete Dictionary of Music, &c. By John Hoyle. Small 8vo.
London, 1791.

The Theatrical Dictionary. London, 1792.

An EncyclopcBdia, or Dictionary of Music, &c. By T. F. Dannely.
Small 8vo. London, N. D.

The Works of Handel, in Score. Edited by Arnold. 32 vols. 1785

The Sacred Oratorios and the Miscellaneous Pieces, as set to Music
by Gr. P. Handel. By T. Heptmstall. 2 vols. 32mo. 1799.

Anecdotes of George Frederick Handel and John Christopher Smith.
4to. London, 1799. (Rev. W. Coxe, Rector of Bemerton.)

Trivia. By Gay. 12 mo. London, 1807.

Poetical Works of Pope.

Anecdotes of the Manners and Customs of London during the Eigh-
teenth Century. By Peller Malcolm. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1811.

History of the Origin and Progress of the Meeting of the Tfiree Choirs
of Gloucester, Worcester, and Hereford. By the Rev. Dan. Lysons.
Gloucester, 1812.

Biographia Dramatica. By Baker, Reed, and Jones. 4 vols. 8vo.
London, 1812.

Musical Biography. (W. Bingley.) 2 vols. 8 vo. London, 1714.

Anecdotes of Music. By A. Burgh. 3 vols. 12mo. London, 1814.

Dictionnaire Historique des Musiciens. Par Choron et PayoUe. 2
vols. 8vo. 1817.

TJie Cyclopoedia, or Universal Dictionary, &c. By Rees, 39 vols.
4to. London, 1819.

A General History of Music. By Th. Busby. 2 vols, royal 8vo.
London, 1819.

Commemoration of Handel By John King. 8vo. 1819.


Posihumoibs Letters from va/riotis Celebrated Men, addressed to Franois
Colman and George Colman. 4to. London, 1820.

Seattle's Letters, from Sir William Forbes's Collection. 2 vols. 3 2 mo.
London, 1820.

A Dictionary of Music. By Busby. Small 8 vo. London, 1820.

An Account of the National Anthem. By Kichard Clark. Royal 8vo.
London, 1822.

How to he Rid of a Wife. By Miss Eliz. Spence. 2 vols. 12mo.
London, 1823.

Somerset Home Gazette. By Ephraim Hardcastle. 2 vols. 4:to.

An Account of the Grand Musical Festival held in September, 1823,
in York. By John Crosse, F!fe.A., F.R.S.L., and M.G.S.* 4to. York,

The Second Yorkshire Musical Festival, 1825. 4to. York, 1825.

Literary and Miscellaneous Memoirs. By J. Cradock. 1826.

De V Opera en France. Par M. Castil Blaze. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris,

A Catalogue of the Musical Library belonging to his majesty's Con-
certs of Ancient Music. 8vo. London, 1827.

A Dictionary of Musicians. 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1727.

Memoir Relating to the Portrait of Handel by Francis Kyte. Pam-
phlet. 4to. 1829. (By Keith Mihies, Esq.)

An Account of the Royal Musical Festival held in Westminster Abbey,
1834. By John Parry. A Pamphlet. 4to. London.

Musical Reminiscences. By Mount Edgcumbe. London, 1834.

Letters of Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann. Third edition.
3 vols. 8vo. London, 1834.

Reminiscences of Handel, his Grace the Duke of Chandos, Po^vells, the
Harpers, etc. By Richard Clarke. Pamphlet. Folio. London, 1836.

Biographic Universelle des Musiciens. Par Fetis. 8 vols, royal 8vo.
Paris, 1839.

Dictionnaire de Musique. Par Lichtenthal, traduit et augmente par
Mondo. 2 vols, royal 8vo. Paris, 1839.

Georg Friderich HcendeVs Stammbaum nach Original-quellen und
authentischen Kachrichten. (Genealogy of Georg Friderick Handel

• The English savans having a mania for putting the alphabet after their names,
as the initials of titles which no foreigners and few Englishmen seem to under-
stand, I have deemed it expedient to attach an explanation to the hieroglyphics
here used. F.S.A., Fellow of the Society of Arts; F.R.S.L., Fellow of the
Royal Society of Literature ; M.G-.S., Member of the Geological Society; LL.D.,
Doctor of Laws and Literature.


taken from original sources and authentic proofs, collected and elabo-
rated.) Von Karl Edward Forstemann. Pamphlet. Folio. Leipzig,
1844. Chez Breithopf et HJirtel.

Memoirs of Alusick. By the lion. Koger North. Edited by Dr.
Rimbault, LL.D., F.S.A.

Memoranda, or Chronicles of the Foundling Hosjntal By John
Brownlow. 8vo. 1847.

An Account of the Visit of Handel to Dublin. By Horatio Townsend.
Small 8vo. Dublin, 1852.

Catalogue of the Manuscript Music in the British Museum. Royal
8vo. London, 1852.

The Works of Handel, in Score. By the Handel Society. 14 -^'ols.
London, 1844-1853. (A prefoce is attached to each publication.)

Messiah. 4to. London. With an Analysis of the Oratorio. 1853.
Published by the Sacred Harmonic Society. (Libretto of the words.)

Complete Encyclopedia of Music. By T. Moore. Royal 8vo. Bos-
ton, 1854.

Diciionnaire de Plain Chant et de Musique d^Eglise au Moyen Age.
Par J. D'Ortigue. 4to. Paris, 1854.

Brief Memoirs of George Frederick Handel. By John Bishop, of
Cheltenham. Pamphlet. FoUo. London, 1856.

Crand Handel Musical Festival at the Crystal Palace. By Mr.
Thomas Bowley. Pamphlet. 8vo. 1857.

Tlie Theatrical Registei\ MS. 4to. At the British Museum ; filled
with advertisements and theatrical criticisms, cut from the journals of
the eighteenth century.

It is believed that this list contains all the works published in En-
gland which can be of service, directly or indirectly, to this Biography.
There exists a Life of Handel by Dixwell — a pamphlet, pubhshed in
London in 1784; but although I have been unable to discover a copy
of it anywhere, even in the British Museum, the following verdict of
the Critical Review for 1784 leaves httle to be regretted on that score:
— " This work is a vulgar narration, very ungrammatical, and devoid
of common sense."

France possesses absolutely nothing on the life and works of Handel,
except the articles about him in the Biographic Universelle des 3fusiciens,
by M. Fetis, and the Dictionnaire Historique des Musiciens of Clioron
and Fayolle ; there is, besides (according to M. Fetis), an abridged
translation of Mainwaring inserted in the Varieies Litteraires of Arnaud
and Suard. Paris, 1768. The article in the Biographic Universelle of
;Michaud is nothing but a piece of scissors-work, and is altogether in-


X L I S T O F W O R K S .

Besides tlie work of Mattheson, and that of M. Ffirstcmann above
mentioned, all that German literature possesses respecting the great
musician is as follows :

Einfultige Critique der Opera Julms Coe^sar in Aegypten. Von Hans
Sachsen. Hamburg, 1725. (Simple Criticism of the Opera of Julius
Coesar in Egypt^ by Hans Sachsen.) It is said that an answer to this
criticism has been published at Altona, under the title of ''Hans SacJiscn's
Heroic Poem.''^

Georg Fricdrich HdndeVs Lehensbeschreibung^ nehst einera Verzeichnisse
seiner Ausuhung- Werke und deren Beurtheilung, &c. Von Mattheson.
Hambourg, 1761. 8vo. (Gr. F. Handel's Biography, with a hst of his
works and a criticism of them.) This notice of Mattheson is a trans-
lation of Mainwaring, with remarks of the translator upon the works
of Handel. My endeavors have hitherto been in vain to obtain
a copy of this in Germany, and it is not to be found in the British

Georg Friedrich HcindcVs Jugend. (G. F. Handel's Youth.) Von
Reichhardt. Berhn, 1786. 30 pages in 8 vo. (Not to be found in the
British Museum.)

Handel dessen Lebensumstdnde (Particulars of the Life of G. F.
Handel) in Adrastea, von V. Herder. Leipzig, 1802.

Lebetisbeschreibungen beruhmter Musikgelehrten. (Biographies of cele-
brated Musicians.) Von Hiller. 8vo. Leipzig, 1784.

Fur Freunde der Tonkunst. (For the Friends of Musical Art.) 4to.
Von Rochlitz. (Notice of Handel and of The Messiah in the 1st and
4th vols.)

Der grosse Musikus Handel im Universalruhme. (The great Musician
Handel in his Universal Fame.) Von J. M. Weissebeck. Niirnberg.
4to. 1809. (Not to be found in the British Museum.)

M. Fetis, in his article on Handel in the Biographie Universelle des
Musicietis, mentions the following works :

" Burney's notice of the Commemoration has been translated into
German by Eschenburg, with additions and notes.

" Krause has also published a notice upon Handel, in his Dartsiel-
lungen aus der Geschichie der Musik. (Exposition of the History of
Music.) Pp. 155-170.

" Finally, Mr. Theodore Milde has given another, in his work entitled
Ueier das Lehen und die Werke der beliebesten deutschen Dichter und
Tonseizer. 2 vols. 8vo. 1834. (On the Life and Works of the most
Celebrated German Poets and Musicians.)"

Le Dictionnaire of Choron and Fayolle mentions also a Life of Han-
del in the Lexicon de Musique Allemande, by Walthcr.


Of all the Arts, Music is that which brings the greatest conso-
lation to the mind, when consolation is possible. The misfor-
tunes of the times have compelled me to quit my native country
for a season, and in my retirement in London I have found a
great source of consolation in listening to the Oratoiios of
Handel, which I had ah-eady learned to admire during three pre-
vious visits to England, and at home in the constant society of
classical amateurs. Out of this grew a wish to possess all the
works of that great man, to whom I felt so deeply indebted.
In bringing these together, I found it necessary, to their proper
arrangement, that I should make myself acquainted with the
various authors who have made mention of Handel. These re-
searches, commenced by me when alone and in the bitterness
of exile, drew me on much further than I had anticipated, and
produced results which seem to me capable of interesting both
the connoisseurs of Handel and those who know nothing about
him ; for he was not only one of the first composers that the
world ever saw, but he was also a man gifted with a great and
noble character. It is in this belief that I offer to the reader
this work, the fruit of three years spent in zealous and assiduous

And, first, let me acknowledge, both for the satisfaction of
my sense of gratitude and to give a greater value to my work,
that I have received great and important assistance from various
quarters. I have to thank His Royal Highness Prince Albert
for having permitted copies of many pieces in the collection
of the original MSS. of Handel, now preserved in Buckingham
Palace, to be taken for my use. Mr. Surman, the conductor of
the orchestra for the London Sacred Harmonic Society, has
shown hunself ever ready to reply to questions addressed to his
long experience. Mr. R. Bowley, the treasurer, and Mr. W.
Husk, the librarian of the Sacred Harmonic Society, have kindly,


and upon many occasions, opened to me the rich and vast mu-
sical Hbrary which is under their charge, Mr. R. Lonsdale has
commimicated to me some useful documents, collected in the
course of his extensive reading. The Rev. C. C. Babington, Fel-
low of St. John's College, Cambridge (whose classical attain-
ments have gained for him a European reputation), also ren-
dered me very great assistance, when I visited Cambridge for the
purpose of examining the MSS. in the Fitzwilliam Museum, and,
thanks to his aid and hospitality, I had no difficulty in accom-
phshing the purpose of my journey. Nor must I omit to offer
my grateful acknowledgments to Mr. Anderson, who holds in his
charge the Handehan manuscripts at Buckingham Palace. With-
out relaxing in any degree the vigilance which he owes to those
admirable relics, Mr. Anderson has, with perfect courtesy, given
me access to them, never wearying of repeated visits ; and, in-
deed, it is not too much to say that, were it not for his valuable
aid, my work would have been far more incomplete than I have
reason to believe it really is. ' In addition to all tliis, I must
confess myself deeply indebted to Mr. Horatio Townsend, the
author of HandeVs Visit to Duhlin, whose elegant correspondence
has been most instructive to me ; and the reader will not fail to
perceive how much useful information I owe to Dr. Rimbault,
who has shown the greatest hberality in communicating what he
knows on the subject.

And truly it needed all these aids to bring my undertaking to
an issue. The necessary documents were not wanting, but they
were scattered about in a thousand different places, and had
never before been brought together. The Memoirs of the Life of
the Late O. F. Handel^ published anonymously in 1760, by the
Rev. John Main waring, is nothing but a summary, without much
exactness; the work of the laborious Sir John Hawkins has
nothing more special than the short biographical notices of the
numerous musicians whom he mentions ; that of Dr. Burney is
(as he himself calls it) '' a sketch" — a sketch, too, which was
traced with some degree of haste, to be placed at the head of liis
Account of the Commemoration of 1784. At the same time, I
set a great value upon these works, especially upon that of Dr.
Burney, who occupied himself thoroughly, in liis History of
Music, with the Italian operas of Handel. The labors which I
myself have undergone, compels me to do full justice to the re-
sults which he has produced ; and if I should seem to take ex-


ception to liim in any respect, it is a real homage to liis habitual
exactness ; he has so well cleared the road, that he has rendered
it passable to tlie more severe and curious inquirer, and it is
really astonishing that, out of the mass of documents wliich he
had to examine, and the great number of those which he set in
order, he has made so few mistakes,* It is not, therefore, my
intention to depreciate what Mainwaring, Hawkins, and Burney
have done. They belonged to that race of conscientious men who
write as if in the performance of a duty, and I admit that, with-
out them, the task of modern historians of Handel would have
been almost an impossible one. What they did was to bring to-
gether the materials out of which an edifice may be constructed.
And yet (strange to relate !) though they have been silent these
sixty years, no one has attempted to perform the work which
they prepared. In this country of England, which Handel has
so illuminated and adorned, and where he has still so many pas-
sionate admirers, not one has yet been found to tell the story of
his life. It is true that many have touched upon this theme ;
but they have all copied, more or less directly, the three au-
thors who have been already named ; not caring to search any
further, or even to take the trouble of arranging that which they

Heptinstall, for example, in his " Sacred Oratorios and Miscel-
laneous Pieces, as set to Music by Handel," says that " Flonnda
and Daphne were composed at Hamburg in 1708" (Burney's
date) ; afterward, that the journey of the composer into Italy,
which took place immediately after leaving Hamburg, " lasted
six years" (Mainwaring's date), '■'■ and terminated in 1710 !"
Busby (General History of Music) explains to us that Handel
produced Roderigo in Florence, in 1702, and that "he continued
there about a year," that he afterward visited Venice, Eome, and
Naples, whence, " having seen as much of Italy as his curiosity

* Burney wrote to Dr. Quint of Dublin (and it may be readily believed) that
the materials for his General History of Music (four volumes in quarto) had cost
him £2000 ; and all the leisure hours which his profession allowed him during
thirty years were occupied in putting them together, without estimating the ex-
pense of the paper, the printing, the engraving, and the advertisements (Town-
send, page 99), Hawkins worked for more than thirty years at his excellent and
most instructive History of Music, five volumes quarto.

t Mr. Horatio Townsend's Visit to Dublin must be excepted from this criticism.
He has thoroughly examined that part of the life of the great composer, bringing
to light a number of curious facts, and, so far as his subject extended, has left
nothing to be gleaned after him.


or his profession required," lie went to Hanover, where " he was
not long resolving on his journey to England," and that he ar-
rived in London " during the winter of 1710." Whence it would
appear that Handel occupied at least eigld years in visiting Venice,
Rome, and Naples ; a period certainly too long for the satisfac-
tion of mere '' curiosity." Busby, in spite of his noble enthusi-
asm for Handel, continually' commits similar blunders. It is
scarcely possible to imagine the extreme carelessness of others.
Hawkins wrote in 1774 : " The Chandos Anthems are about
twenty in number. As they have not been printed, it may be
some satisfaction to the curious to be informed that the hbrary
of the Academy of Ancient Music contaim the greatest part of
them." In 1814, an anonymous writer published, in two vol-
umes octavo, a Musical Biography, etc., and in the article upoa
Handel the above passage was taken literally from Hawkins, the
author being ignorant of the fact that, during the sixty years that
had intervened since the appearance of Hawkins's work, the
Twelve Chandos Anthems (all that have ever existed) had been
printed two or three times over !

If I have not been more fortunate than my predecessors in
avoiding error, at least it must in justice be admitted that I have
manifested a greater zeal for the truth. In every branch of the
subject I have gone to the fountain-head. During more than a
month, it was my daily lot to examine the eighty-seven volumes
of the great man's own manuscripts which are now in Bucking-
ham Palace, and those were the best moments which I spent
upon my undertaking ; for while I held in my hands the very
papers which he had held in his, and examined his own hand-
writing, and copied his memoranda, and sought eagerly for the
slightest particle of himself, it seemed to me as if I were hving
with Handel ; and as day by day I grew to a better understand-
ing of the incessant labor with which that fecund genius corrected
and recorrected every thing which he wrote, the hours of my la-
bor seemed shorter to me.

When I visited Cambridge, I found seven volumes of original
manuscript, containing a variety of detached pieces of very great
value, and I obtained copies of all which have been hitherto un-
edited. What can be the reason that no Englishman has ever
taken in hand these precious waifs and strays in the Fitzwilham
Museum ? The small number of those who are aware of their
existence speak of them as vaguely as if they were at Kam-


scliatka ; and I have never yet seon them qnoteil anywhere, not
even in any one of the fine editions of the Handel Society.
Yet they include many pieces which were supposed to be lost,
duplicates and first sketches, the competent examination of

Online LibraryVictor SchlcherThe life of Handel → online text (page 1 of 43)