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Cabinet 10: Music

C. F. Handel, The Celebrated Water Musick In Score Composed in the Year 1716. [London: Printed for the editor and sold by Longman and co., 1787-1797]. DeB Ed 1787 H; Charles Burney, A General History of Music. London: Printed for the Author, 1789. DeB Ec 1776 B

Handel Handel, page 1
Handel, title page Burney, title page

Following his arrival in England in 1711, the German composer George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) gradually dominated the London music scene. His first London opera Rinaldo, started with a blast: scenic effects of 'Thunder and Lightening, Illuminations and Fireworks' (The Spectator, 6 March 1711). His two major orchestral works, the Water Music (c.1717) and Music of the Royal Fireworks (1749), were written for the royal court. Dr Charles Burney, famed eighteenth-century music teacher and historian, described him thus: 'The figure of Handel was large, and he was somewhat corpulent, and unwieldy in his motions; but his countenance, which I remember as perfectly as that of any man I saw but yesterday, was full of fire and dignity; and such as inspired ideas of superiority and genius.' On display is a portrait of Handel, and Burney's classic work.