Public Lecture - Dr David Irving
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) is renowned primarily as a composer and a keyboardist; we tend to overlook the fact that he began his performance career on the violin, in the Hamburg opera orchestra. Even though the violin soon took second fiddle to the harpsichord and organ, instruments on which the young musician demonstrated his prowess in many different contexts, Handel pushed the violin to new technical heights: he wrote for it as a solo instrument in multiple concertos, suites, and sonatas, in complex obbligatos for operatic arias, and in virtuosic accompaniments for cantatas. At the age of 22, he even dared to show Arcangelo Corelli how to play a phrase, when the venerable violinist was flummoxed by one of Handel’s overtures. Following his move to London, Handel was surrounded by a constellation of great violinists, with whom he performed in many contexts and for whom he wrote many works. This lecture explores Handel’s relationship with the violin, and will be illustrated with musical examples.