Archive for the ‘Georg Friedrich Handel’ Tag

Feast of Henry and Daniel Purcell (November 21)   4 comments

Above:  The Choir of Westminster Abbey (1893), by Henry Crickmore

Image Source = Library of Congress

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HENRY PURCELL (JR.) (SEPTEMBER 10, 1659-NOVEMER 21, 1695)

brother of

DANIEL PURCELL (CIRCA 1664-NOVEMBER 1717)

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ENGLISH COMPOSERS

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Henry Purcell (Jr.) comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church, in which he shares a feast with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel on July 28.  Each of the other composers has a separate feast day on this, my Ecumenical CalendarDaniel Purcell joins his esteemed brother as part of my effort to emphasize relationships and influences.

Much information about the Purcell brothers is lacking.  We know enough, I suppose.

Henry Purcell (Sr.) had three sons –Edward, Henry (Jr.), and Daniel.  The family lived within the shadow of Westminster Abbey.  After Henry (Sr.) died in 1664, his brother Timothy, an attentive uncle, raised the sons.  Uncle Timothy was a musician and a gentleman of the Chapel Royal.  He supervised the educations of his three nephews dutifully and well.  Henry (Jr.) and Daniel began their musical paths as choristers at Westminster Abbey.  In 1673, Henry, already studying privately under composers, as well as at the Westminster School, became the assistant to organ-builder and composer John Hingston (1612-1683).  Henry was a copyist at Westminster Abbey in 1676.  Meanwhile, he had begun composing by 1670.  Perhaps his earliest work was in honor of King Charles II, on the monarch’s birthday, in 1670.

Henry composed many sacred and secular works.  He also wrote instrumental works and compositions for the human voice.  He, married to Frances in 1682, had six children, two of whom survived him.  Our saint supported his family via composing and by working as the organist at both Westminster Abbey (1679f) and the Chapel Royal (1682f).

I refer you, O reader, to the following links for musical samples:

  1. Sonatas
  2. Ten Sonatas in Four Parts
  3. Twelve Sonatas of Three Parts
  4. Anthems and Hymns
  5. Abdelazer Suite
  6. King Arthur
  7. Dido and Aeneas
  8. Evening Prayer
  9. Funeral of Queen Mary
  10. Harpsichord Works
  11. Chaconne in G Minor
  12. Come, Come, Ye Sons of Art
  13. Sacred Music

Henry, aged 36 years, died at home in London on November 21, 1695.  He left one incomplete work, The Indian Queen, which Daniel completed.  “Sound, Sound the Trumpet,” from Act V of The Indian Queen, was one of Daniel’s earliest works.

Daniel, having begun to compose while working as the organist of Magdalen College, Oxford, moved to London in 1695.  He composed much incidental music, as well as sonatas and works for violin.  Some of his sacred music–a setting of the Magnificat and one of the Nunc Dimittis–have remained in use in The Church of England.  Circa 1713 Daniel became the organist at St. Andrew’s, Holbern; he remained in that post until he died in November 1717.  The date of the funeral was November 26, 1717.

The Purcell brothers’ legacy continues to enrich the lives of many people, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 17, 2019 COMMON ERA

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF DANIEL SYLVESTER TUTTLE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF EMILY COOPER, EPISCOPAL DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF MAX JOSEF METZGER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF WILBUR KENNETH HOWARD, MODERATOR OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

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Almighty God, beautiful and majesty and majestic in holiness,

who teaches us in Holy Scripture to sing your praises

and who gave your musicians Henry and Daniel Purcell

grace to show forth your glory in their music:

Be with all those who write or make music for your people,

that we on earth may glimpse your beauty and know the inexhaustible riches

of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Savior:

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Chronicles 7:1-6

Psalm 150

Colossians 2:206

Luke 2:8-14

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 491

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Feast of Giovanni Battista Bononcini and Antonio Maria Bononcini (July 8)   1 comment

Above:  Flag of the Duchy of Modena

Image in the Public Domain

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GIOVANNI BATTISTA BONONCINI (JULY 18, 1670-JULY 9, 1747)

Italian Composer and Musician

brother of

ANTONIO MARIA BONONCINI (JUNE 18, 1677-JULY 8, 1726)

Italian Composer and Musician

The Bononcini brothers were composers whose music–much of it sacred–has survived, fortunately.  They were sons and students of Giovanni Maria Battista, a composer and musician at Modena.  Both brothers also studied at Bologna under the renowned Giovanni Paola Colonna.  The Bononcini brothers became cellists and professional musicians.

The professional lives of the brothers overlapped.  From 1690 to 1693 Antonio was a musician in the court of the Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna.  At the same time Giovanni, the maestro di cappella of San Giovanni, Monte, had built a reputation as  a composer of operas.  Giovanni, in Rome from 1692 to 1699, moved to Vienna, where Antonio lived and worked.  Antonio was the kappelmeister in the imperial court from 1705 to 1713.  Giovanni was the court composer from 1700 to 1711.

The brothers parted ways and left Vienna.  Giovanni returned to Italy in 1711; Antonio followed suit two years later.  From 1721 to 1726 Antonio was the maestro di cappella at Modena.  He died, aged 49 years, on July 8, 1726.  Giovanni went to England in 1720; the Royal Academy of Music had invited him.  There he was an artistic rival of George Frederick Handel, whose reputation has proved more enduring.  In London Giovanni saw eight of his operas produced.  He also composed chamber music and works for the harpsichord.  Giovanni’s time in London ended in disgrace.  He left for Paris in 1733, after having submitted a madrigal by Antonio Lotti to the Academy of Ancient Music as if it were a Bononcini composition.  By the late 1740 Giovanni was in Vienna again.  There he composed a Te Deum.  Giovanni died on July 9, 1747, aged 76 years.

Of the two brothers Giovanni was (and remains) the more famous composer.  Antonio composed about 40 cantatas, plus a Stabat Mater, a Salve Regina, at least one mass, and a number of operas.  Giovanni was mainly an operatic composer, with at least 28 operas to his credit.  He also wrote choruses and oratorios, among other compositions.  One of his sacred works was La Conversione de Maddelena.

These are beautiful and inspiring works of music that ennoble those who listen to them.  These are the enduring legacies of talented composers, brothers.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS STEFAN AND KAZIMIERZ GRELEWSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS,  1941 AND 1942

THE FEAST OF DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE, LUTHERAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY DAY AND PETER LAURIN, COFOUNDERS OF THE CATHOLIC WORKER MOVEMENT

THE FEAST OF THOMAS TOKE LYNCH, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring

Giovanni Battista Bononcini, Antonio Maria Bononcini,

and all those who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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Feast of George Frederick Handel (April 15)   5 comments

Above:  Handel

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL (FEBRUARY 23, 1685 OLD STYLE/MARCH 5, 1685 NEW STYLE-APRIL 14, 1759)

Composer

Also known as Georg Friedrich Handel and George Frideric Handel

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I should be sorry if I only entertained them. I wish to make them better.

–Handel

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The feast day of this saint in The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is July 28.  The Episcopal Church adds Johann Sebastian Bach and Henry Purcell to that feast.  The ELCA/ELCIC version of the feast is Heinrich Schutz, J. S. Bach, and G. F. Handel.  My strategy in this matter is to break those two feasts apart, as I have begun to do.

Handel was a child prodigy.  He was a child of the 63-year-old Georg Handel (a barber-surgeon) and Dorothea Taust, of Halle.  Our saint, born on February 23, 1685 (Julian Calendar)/March 5, 1685 (Gregorian Calendar), played the organ at the ducal court at Weissenfells at the tender age of eight years.  The following year Handel began to study composition and various instruments under Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau, an organist at Halle.  By the age of ten years Handel had at least six sonatas for oboe and continue to his credit.

Georg Handel, who died in 1697,  wanted our saint to become an attorney.  So it came to pass that young Handel studied law at the University of Halle.  Our saint completed that course of study, per the wishes of his late father, although he had begun to support himself as a church musician.  Handel, although a Lutheran, was organist at a Reformed church.

Handel became a musician and composer.  Among his friends was composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), whom he met in college.  From 1703 to 1706 Handel worked in Hamburg, a center of German opera.  He played the violin and the harpsichord in the opera orchestra there.  Our saint also wrote the St. John Passion and this first two operas (Almira and Nero) at Hamburg.

Handel spent 1706-1710 in Italy.  There he visited Florence, Rome, Naples, and Venice, met major Italian composers, and composed major works, including operas.

After completing his Italian tour Handel went to work as the musical director for Georg Ludwig, the Elector of Hanover (and, starting in 1714, King George I of Great Britain).  Our saint visited London, where he debuted his opera Rinaldo, in 1711.  The following year he settled in that city.  In 1726 he became a naturalized British subject.

Handel was a great composer.  He and J. S. Bach, who was unlike him in many ways, wrote much of the best music of the Baroque Era.  The great Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), citing Messiah (1741), declared that Handel was “the master of us all.”  Handel’s vast catalog of compositions included instrumental and vocal music, from the Water Music to operas to oratorios on Biblical topics (Messiah, Judas Maccabaeus, Samson, Esther, Israel in Egyptet cetera).

Handel, a lifelong bachelor, enjoyed life and lived it well.  The man who demonstrated the ability to speak three languages in the same sentence was generous of spirit and gave liberally to charities; he had much to share with the less fortunate.  He, although a solitary figure, enjoyed parties, good food, and fine wine.  He did not hold grudges and, when he realized that he had caused offense, was quick to apologize.

Handel died in London on April 14, 1759, aged 74 years.  The site of his burial was Westminster Abbey.

I intend no disrespect to lawyers when I write that it is fortunate for the world that Handel became a composer, not an attorney.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 28, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HUGH THOMSON KERR, SR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND LITURGIST; AND HUGH THOMSON KERR, JR., U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, SCHOLAR, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PLUTARCH, MARCELLA, POTANOMINAENA, AND BASTILDES OF ALEXANDRIA, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF RANDOLPH ROYALL CLAIBORNE, JR., EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF ATLANTA

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty and majestic in holiness,

who teaches us in Holy Scriptures to sing your praises and who gave your

musician George Frederick Handel grace to show forth your glory in his music:

Be with all those who write or make music for your people,

that we on earth may glimpse your beauty and know the

inexhaustible riches of your new creation in Jesus Christ our Savior;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Chronicles 7:1-6

Psalm 150

Colossians 2:2-6

Luke 2:8-14

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 491

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