[Period VIII.  The Reign of King George II.  From 1728 to 1760.]



Painter or Designer.

Engraver or Printsetter.

Geo. Fred. HANDEL, Music.  Ob. 1759, aet. 77.

            -                -                -                -

            sitting, a paper in his left hand                  -                mez.

            in Birch’s “Lives”          -                -                -

            a roll in his left hand     -                                  Berl. fol.

            oval, prefixed to his 18 Songs, by Hardy            mez.





GA Wolfgang



F. Bartolozzi.

Faber, 1749.

J. Houbraken.

J.G. Wolfgang. [1]





                  A gentleman of the strictest veracity, told me the following story of the effects of music on himself.  He said, that the first impression music made on him, was of the pleasing kind; that in the course of time he found it’s [sic] effects increase so much on his nerves, that for many years he had been obliged to leave the room previous to it’s [sic] being introduced; that he had tried more than once to get the better of his feelings, fearing he might appear ridiculous in the opinion of the world; but the two last experiments deterred him from making another, for he was both times seized with a convulsion in his jaw; and the last time was so generally convulsed, that his friends were [60] greatly alarmed.  The song which obtained a complete victory over him, I think he told me was, “Come ever smiling liberty,” in the oratorio of Judas Maccabaeus, by Handel.



Soon after Farinelli left England, Cafferelli came over from Italy, being engaged by Handel, but unfortunately for him, Farinelli had been too lately heard; he soon returned to Italy, and was for some years considered as the most exquisite singer on the Italian stage.



Of music as an imitative art, with some strange opinions of a late author.

Music applied as an imitative art, has in general been unsuccessful, yet in some instances it has certainly succeeded.


HANDEL, in his oratorio of Israel in Egypt, has imitated by notes the buzzing of flies, and the leaping of frogs, and has rattled down a hailstorm so wonderfully, that to the imaginations of the greater part of those who attended the abbey meetings, it absolutely realized dreary winter, whilst every thing in nature was invigorated by [102] the warm rays of the genial fun. (e)  In a famous song “on a plot of rising ground, I hear the far off curfew sound,” Handel has imitated the evening bell with great success; likewise in “hush ye pretty warbling choirs,” he imitates most charmingly, the singing of birds, by a flageolet in the accompanyment.



All Germany give to Luther, the composition of the 100 psalm, and the 146, with many others.  Handel used to say, that the 100 psalm was indisputably the composition of Luther; though the same tune, adapted to psalm 134, is published in Claude le Jeune’s book of psalm-tunes, in four parts; and likewise in the psalms of Goudimel.



                  Early in the present century, the principal nobility and gentry, with the King as patron, formed a musical academy under Handel.



[…] With respect to a taste for music, only the simplest, and plainest compositions are relished at first; use and practice extend our pleasure; teach us to relish finer melody, and by degrees enable us to enter [156] into the intricate and compounded pleasures of harmony. […] To a common ear, the subject of a complex concerto or a chorus, as it is carried through the several parts, is an unmeaning jumble of sounds; few but those who are acquainted with the principles of simultaneous harmony, or music in parts, feel its influence: the ear must have been a long time in the habits of improvement, before it can perceive its beauties; it is not the voice of nature, but the language of education.  I do not mean that this is always the case, for we must allow exceptions to every general rule.  The chorusses of Handel, are for the most part manifest exceptions, particularly the grand chorus in the Messiah, “Hallelujah; for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth;” which is so happily conceived, and so beautifully expressed, that one might almost conclude that it was [157] composed under divine inspiration.  I select this chorus from the rest of Handel’s inimitable compositions in that line, because it is more within the comprehension of common auditors.




[1] Henry Bromley, A Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits, From Egbert the Great to the Present Time.  Consisting of the Effigies of Persons in every Walk of Human Life; as well those whose Services to their Country are recorded in the Annals of the English History, as others whose Eccentricity of Character rendered them conspicuous in their Day.  With an Appendix, containing the Protraits of such Foreigners as either by Alliance with the Royal Families of, or Residence as Visitors in this Kingdom, or by deriving from it some Title of Distinction, may claim a Place in the British Series.  Methodically disposed in Classes, and interspersed with a number of Notices Biographical and Genealogical, never before published (London: T. Payne..., 1793), 299.

(e) The abbey meetings have generally been held about the last week in May, or the first week in June.

[2] Richard Eastcott, Sketches of the Origin, Progress and Effects of Music (Bath: S. Hazard, 1793).